At 5-foot-10, 180 pounds, Randall Goforth is not big for a starting safety. He’s also not the fastest or strongest player in UCLA’s defensive back rotation.
What the junior prides himself on, though, is the mental side of the game. It’s what allowed him to finish fourth on the team in tackles last year, with 78, and also record three interceptions.
By focusing on being the smartest player he can be, Goforth feels like even though he isn’t going to blow anyone with his physical attributes, he still has the advantage.
“I feel like the game is slowing down, for sure,” Goforth said. “I’m starting to recognize things and know where I need to be in the defensive scheme, and that helps me play a lot faster. Every day, I just try and be a film rat, honestly.”
And when Goforth needs to study an offense, he goes to his roommate, star quarterback and Heisman hopeful Brett Hundley. Goforth finds himself shadowing Hundley at practice, trying to learn by osmosis from one of the best quarterbacks in the country. Hundley is constantly watching film, Goforth says, so the two are always watching tape together. The safety focuses as much on the offense as he does the defense.
“I’m just trying to learn what they are doing on the other side of the ball so he can help me play faster,” Goforth said.
The film study will only increase once the season starts, which for Goforth, is just fine.
“I just need to keep taking strides on getting smarter, learning the game, and learning what offenses want to do,” he said. “It’s not just what defenses are running.”