For Goode, Football Is Just A Snap

FAYETTEVILLE -- Brett Goode is extremely accurate when it comes to tossing a football between his legs.

How accurate is the former Arkansas deep snapper? He can use a goal post as a target and consistently hit it while hurling a football backward.

"I'd say he's very accurate," said former Arkansas deep snapper Benji Mahan, who coached Goode at Fort Smith Northside. "He could probably put (the football) on the little Hog (patch) that's on the punter's pants."

It's an odd skill that Goode picked up when he was in the eighth grade. He knew that perhaps his best chance of getting on the football field was to be a deep snapper.

And after four seasons at Arkansas, Goode has earned a shot at making the NFL thanks to his rare ability to accurately snap a football.

He was considered one of the nation's best at his position this past season, and he'll get a chance to further impress NFL scouts when he takes the field today as one of only two deep snappers invited to participate in the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala.

"Oh absolutely, it's always been (a goal)," Goode said of playing in the NFL.

Former Arkansas offensive tackle Tony Ugoh will also play for the South team in the Senior Bowl, but there is not as much uncertainty regarding his chances of getting picked up by an NFL team.

Ugoh has been projected as a possible first-round pick in April's NFL Draft, and he has spoken to more than 20 NFL teams while practicing in Mobile over the past few days.

"They wouldn't waste their time meeting with someone that they're not interested in," Ugoh said earlier this week.

But it would be impressive if Goode, a 6-foot-1, 235-pound Fort Smith native, could simply make an NFL roster.

Getting to the NFL as a deep snapper is extremely difficult. It's a very specialized position, and there are usually dozens of deep snappers competing for only a few roster spots.

"I say it's the toughest job on the field," said Mahan, who spent five seasons at Arkansas as a deep snapper (1994-98). He now serves as the offensive line coach at Bentonville High.

"If a quarterback messes up, he gets other chances. If the deep snapper messes up, everybody in the world sees it. So for a guy (like Goode) that went out there and snapped 48 straight games (at Arkansas) ... I'd say that's pretty good."

Goode arrived at Arkansas in 2003, and he served as the Razorbacks' primary deep snapper for the better part of four seasons. He was accurate with his snaps, showing the type of ability that Mahan saw early on.

Mahan said Goode immediately took to the position as a freshman in high school. There wasn't much doubt as to where the football would go when the teenager snapped it. But as a former deep snapper, Mahan was able to work with Goode on his technique.

Mahan, who started 15 games at Arkansas, taught Goode how to grip the football and use his whole body to snap the football as fast as he could.

Even after getting to Arkansas, Goode would usually call his former offensive line coach every Thursday to go over the upcoming the game plan. The two still talk on a regular basis.

"He basically ... helped me with everything," Goode said of Mahan. "He's always been there to help whenever I've needed it."

As result, Goode is on the verge of making the NFL.

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