Fans Scratching Heads About Defense


Posted Nov 29, 2008


ATHENS – It had already been a long season for embattled Georgia defensive coordinator Willie Martinez, but as the final seconds of the Bulldogs’ 45-42 loss ticked off the clock, many fans were already wondering if it wasn’t just Georgia’s seniors who would be waiving goodbye to Sanford Stadium.

The Georgia message boards have been filled with fan criticism of Martinez since Georgia’s loss to Alabama in September, but head coach Mark Richt said he wouldn’t be taking the same tone when he evaluates his staff at season’s end.

“My thought is that a lot of times when things don’t go exactly the way you want it to, then people want to find somebody to blame,” Richt said. “I’m not going to do that.”

Georgia Tech racked up 428 total yards of offense, including 409 on the ground. Tech converted several key third downs in the second half, hodling the ball for nearly two-thirds of the final two quarters. Roddy Jones and Jonathan Dwyer combined 358 yards on the ground, and the Yellow Jackets had three plays of more than 50 yards.

Still, Martinez argued the game plan was sound – it was the execution that was lacking.

"They really didn't do anything that we didn't expect,” Martinez said. We knew what was coming but we just couldn't make the plays when we needed to."

Richt said that despite the recent defensive shortcomings, which included big performances by the offenses of LSU, Florida and Kentucky, Martinez’s unit had also won several games for Georgia.

While Richt won’t be making any rash decisions regarding Martinez’s future with the Bulldogs, he said the next few weeks will be filled with reflection on where things went wrong.

“It is a time when you get to the end of your season where there will be reflection on what would I do or what could we do better,” Richt said. “You do that game by game, but when you get close to the end you begin to reflect on the entire season and find a way to get better.”


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