Goddard: Secondary's Seasoned Veteran

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. --- It was just about this time last year that strong safety Trimane Goddard rolled his foot while stepping over hurdles in training camp, fracturing his left foot for the second time in nine months. The redshirt junior returns to the secondary as the old guy in the group, and he's looking forward to the challenge that leadership brings.

Goddard participated in spring practice, which marked his first significant action since the 2005 season.

"Spring [was] just to knock the rust off and get back on my feet," Goddard said. "When camp came around, I was going at it like I used to."

Following a sophomore season in which he posted 53 tackles and three interceptions, Goddard understands that he is the elder statesman of the defensive backfield, and he has relished that role both on the field and in the film room.

"It just forces me to put in extra time, so that I can help others out," Goddard said. "If I'm just putting time in [during] the meetings, then I'm learning just like the other guys are. So if I put in extra time learning plays and stuff like that, then that will help me out to help the younger guys out."

Redshirt freshmen Deunta Williams and Shaun Draughn have stepped to the forefront at safety this preseason, challenging for playing time alongside Goddard, who is also serving as an on-field coach for the two underclassmen.

"I just help them try to become better in their technique – the way they look at things on the football field," Goddard said. "Both of those guys – they put in extra time, so they help me also. It's not just me helping them. They put in a lot of work, and they go out there and play hard."

With a more aggressive defensive scheme that will use all three safeties in the nickel package, Goddard believes Williams and Draughn will help strengthen the defense.

"All three of us can cover," Goddard said. "It allows more presence inside the box. It puts not a small guy out there, but a guy that can move that can also take on blockers. It gives us a better presence in the run and pass game."

Head coach Butch Davis praised Goddard last week, indicating that the Robersonville, N.C. native has excelled in his play-calling duties from his safety position.

"It's just more focus and recognition," Goddard said. "It's always watching – staying inside their huddle so you see where they break, where they come from, and if you keep your eyes open and stay focused, it helps other people line up. The faster they line up, the faster they can make their adjustments."

The 5-foot-11, 195-pound junior is anxious to get back on the football field to do what he does best – making big hits.

"My mentality is just to go and give them everything I've got," Goddard said. "Regardless of what happens, he's going down."

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