Richt needs to end speculation about Martinez

If Willie Martinez has coached his final game in Athens, we should know soon.

If Willie Martinez has coached his final game in Athens, we should know soon.

I’m not sure what to read into Mark Richt’s sudden decision to cancel his scheduled Sunday night conference call with media members because of a reported “family function,” other than, well, a reported family function.

But with strong and protracted speculation that there are going to be significant changes on his coaching staff at Georgia — including either firing or demoting defensive coordinator Willie Martinez — Richt should not let this matter linger much longer. Either announce the staff will remain intact or make changes. The public guessing game helps nobody.

This generally is the week firings happen. (Virginia already has fired Al Groh.) It’s an important time in recruiting, and teams also want to get an early jump on potential replacements. There’s no reason to wait until after bowl games. Bowls generally are inconsequential, as it relates to a coach’s job security.

All that said, it would stunning if Martinez is back, certainly as coordinator. Martinez’s supporters shouldn’t get too drunk over the 30-24 season-ending win over Georgia Tech. The Bulldogs played better defense at times against Tech than they had this season. But the Jackets were held to only a field goal in the first half largely because Georgia’s running game kept Tech’s offense off the field. They had only four possessions. (The others: missed field goal, interception, time expired.) If any coach redeemed himself Saturday night, it probably was offensive line coach Stacy Searles, not Martinez.

In the second half, Tech scored touchdowns on three of its first four possessions and fumbled to end another drive near midfield.

As our Tim Tucker points out, Richt has done little to defuse speculation that he’ll make changes. Sometimes saying nothing on the subject — as he has done most of the season — is a greater indictment than anything else. Bottom line: Martinez’s body of work, and certainly the Dogs’ defensive problems the last two seasons, speaks loudly. Change is needed.

But regardless of Richt’s decision, he needs to clear the air quickly.

481 comments Add your comment

Johnny Test

November 30th, 2009
11:32 am

Ain’t gonna happen till after the holidays and the bowl game… gotta work out an out package and line up a replacement.

Jeff Schultz

November 30th, 2009
11:37 am

Johnny — Good luck selling that to recruits.

UGA LIVES ON!!!!

November 30th, 2009
11:40 am

I agree Jeff, He does need to get out there and announce whats next…. Granted, THAT GAME MADE ME!! HAPPY, but the season still was a mess. SOMETHING needs to happen, NOW!

Tom, Resident Georgia Fan

November 30th, 2009
11:40 am

Keep the guy but not as a DC.

Pete Orr

November 30th, 2009
11:41 am

Sign him to a 10 year extension!

chemdawg

November 30th, 2009
11:42 am

Recruits aren’t going to athens for Willie Martinez. They’re going because every position will be up for grabs for new starters.

Barkley Dawg

November 30th, 2009
11:42 am

Jeff,
You lost all credibility when you (and the ENTIRE rest of the media) were gushing (really, it was a little gross) over Tech and their coach. So why would anyone listen to what you have to day anymore?

Jeff Schultz

November 30th, 2009
11:42 am

Pete, are you channeling Dave Braine?

dwf

November 30th, 2009
11:42 am

No out package needed Johnny…Georgia’s assistants work on one year contracts.

Jeff Schultz

November 30th, 2009
11:43 am

Am I now off of the Tech bandwagon? Can I please dash all of these Jacket fans with a little bit of reality regarding their football program? Do I finally realize that Tech’s football program will never be as good as UGA’s even in their best season in two decades and Richt’s probably worst season ever? Can somebody for the AJC please acknowledge how weak the ACC is? Ok, I will…

The winner of Clemson and Ga Tech would be 5th in the SEC east…

Chew on that AJC flip-floppers

MiltonDawg

November 30th, 2009
11:44 am

Exactly JS- make the announcement now, that way the recruiters can go out now and make good with all the 2010 recruits. Martinez should go out on a high note by stopping the #7 ranked team in the country.

chemdawg

November 30th, 2009
11:45 am

Offense will have some talent with Murray, Ealey, King, AJ Green, Orsen Charles. Georgia needs playmakers and a new coach in the secondary. Who wouldn’t want to come play defense for a team with so many offensive weapons?

Peter Venkman

November 30th, 2009
11:46 am

Jeff, the main question is who would they have a shot at getting and what does this mean to Rodney Garner? We certainly don’t need to lose Garner but if he isn’t given a shot he may be gone as well.

SSI gator

November 30th, 2009
11:46 am

Typical Richt attitude. We won – I think the coaches deserve a raise at the end of the year. All for beating a team with more leaks on defense than a screen door on a submarine. Next year – another verse same a the first. Beat the weaker teams lose to the stronger ones. Get used to 8-4 and 9-3 years with mid-level bowl games UGA. But he is such a nice guy.

dawgs

November 30th, 2009
11:46 am

let the guy go go go go

Jeff Schultz

November 30th, 2009
11:46 am

can an AJC writer now write something about UGA’s dominance? About the SEC’s dominance. About Paul Johnson getting out-coached? About how the UGA/Tech game was much more of a blowout than the numbers showed? Anything? Quit by-passing your previous mistakes in assumptions and predictions by talking bowl games and future coaches…

Stir the pot in the favor of UGA for once this season you low-class columnists.

haywood jablome

November 30th, 2009
11:46 am

the sooner the better

Ryno

November 30th, 2009
11:49 am

Jeff – I’m familiar with coordinators accepting head coaches jobs prior to the bowl games (like Coach Richt) – but can you think of any coordinators who took other coordinators jobs prior to bowl games?

I understand your thoughts on it being important for recruiting – but not even seasoned coaches like John Chavis left until the season was over. There simply isn’t a history for it happening this early in the process.

Worry @ your credibility instead

November 30th, 2009
11:50 am

Hey Jeff, where is the article where you- along with every other AJC hack- admits how badly you missed on predicting the game Saturday night? Tech owns GA, CPJ never loses to UGA, etc. etc. 30-24!
Richt has a plan to address the issues with the team and he’ll do it on HIS timetable, not yours. This is an important decision so give him time to make it. Just ask Obama, he’s been making a decision on sending troops in Afganistan for what, 6 months. If taking time is ok for BHO, it’s good for me. CMR will make the move and you’ll jump all over yourself making a controversial response no matter who he chooses. PLEASE write another 10 articles telling the Tech world that losing to UGA doesn’t matter. Ask any “real” Tech fan and they’ll tell you different. Do you prefer tartar sauce or vinegar for the fish fry?

RJ

November 30th, 2009
11:51 am

Although this sounds trite, many of Georgia’s defensive problems can and should be blamed on the lack of consistent offensive production which kept Georgia’s defense on the field too long. As the best games this season proved, the Dogs need to utilize the talent they have and pound the ball with their very talented corps of running backs.

Jeff Schultz

November 30th, 2009
11:51 am

wolfdawg

November 30th, 2009
11:51 am

Has anyone seen m, yellow fuzz or saint Simmons?

Ryan Mallett

November 30th, 2009
11:52 am

Keep Willie. I look forward to another banner game next year. Can Bryan Evans get a 6th year of eligibility?

Barnacle Bill Bavasi

November 30th, 2009
11:54 am

You make valid points, but it’s starting to be irritating how columnists/bloggers micromanage the program. Just to illustrate how overblown the “damage to recruiting,” angle you raise is, I hope he waits until after the bowl (unless, of course, he hires someone from another program before then).

D.N. Nation

November 30th, 2009
11:54 am

Anyone else sense the sadness in Schultz’ tone the last two days? Additionally, anyone notice a relative dearth of college football talk on 790 AM this morning? One wonders why, on both accounts.

Ted

November 30th, 2009
11:55 am

next year the 11-0 yellow jackets travel to stanford stadium to play the 11-0 bulldogs for all the marbles!

Ricky

November 30th, 2009
11:55 am

We see you champion change so why not make your title not quite so subtle such as “Fire Martinez” or “Richt or Martinez, One Of You Have To Go”. Your cunning is stunning!! You almost had me thinking that defense was our only problem.

mike on lake hartwell

November 30th, 2009
11:56 am

if im willie martinez i get out before my defense has to play
again. maybe future employers will be fooled by his D
holding someone under 35 pts for a change. play again and
risk another 40 point debacle facing, say, a potent miami
offense in the chick-fil-a bowl.

Obama said we need CHANGE

November 30th, 2009
11:57 am

Sorry but Willie’s defense over the past few years has been awful giving up way too many points. He has to be gone completly. He hasn’t impressed me as a secondary coach either with poor tackling and pass coverage.
Also whoever we bring in needs to quit recruiting cornerbacks that are 5′8″ or so. unbelievable. And glad to see Richt was a little more fired up on the sideline than usual. Great end Saturday to a depressing season. GO DAWGS!!

grillinchef

November 30th, 2009
11:58 am

I agree with worry @. Personnel decisions should not be made based on media pressure, but in consideration of the best interest of the school, team, and the individual. He may not be living up to expectations, but how Coach Richt handles this situation will also speak volumes for the school’s and coach’s credibility.

Lowcountry Bulldawg

November 30th, 2009
11:58 am

JS,

What about the status of Ga. Techs DC since he allowed them to get ran up and down on by a UGA team that had not ran the ball successfully all season?

339 yards on the ground= an article about UGA replacing CWM?

I am not pro Willie, but what about the other side taking a little heat here!

Dooley's Cardiologist

November 30th, 2009
12:00 pm

Tech might as well hire him. It sure looked like he was coaching their defense on Saturday.

Carroll Dawg

November 30th, 2009
12:01 pm

What a great Monday morning. We don’t have to listen to the Techies again for a whole year, #23, #3 and #14 have played their last meaningful game and now it is time for Willie to bow out as well. What a great weekend. Is it September yet?

I agree...

November 30th, 2009
12:01 pm

…but I also have to give credit to #9 for playing well Saturday. I have long said he is way overrated, and he has played like it most of the time, but Saturday was probably his best game ever. The interception was spectacular; the Tech folks question the play call and the back-up QB throw, but it was a perfectly thrown ball, and #9 made a great play.

Now, if UGA will only keep #3 on the bench (did you see CMR get on him after the Gatorade bath – it can never be said again that Richt has no temper after that display!).

Sanford Drive

November 30th, 2009
12:01 pm

With Richt’s mental capacity, he’ll probably demote Willie to watergirl and promote watergirl to DC.

hop

November 30th, 2009
12:02 pm

i agree with rj the defensive woes are because of the many turnovers of the offense and the lack of committment to the running game.

mike bobo should be the one on hot sit not willie.

the defense has played well the second half of the year and the stats confirmed it as well.

lets keep wiilie and richt needs to take over the offense!

B Davis

November 30th, 2009
12:03 pm

Please keep Willie.

He and Richt, Oh well it is what it is.

Sanford Drive

November 30th, 2009
12:04 pm

Is Bryan Evans a senior? Or do we have to endure this torture for another year?

BillT

November 30th, 2009
12:04 pm

Boy, UGA fans, you sound like whiney nincompoops. I sent my daughter there and am now a bit worried. Although, i bet most of you posters today couldn’t get in now.

Hey, Ted...

November 30th, 2009
12:04 pm

…where is the “stanford stadium” that will host next year’s game between the 11-0 Dawgs and the 11-0 Jackets? Do we have to go all the way to Palo Alto, CA to watch that game?

Simple Simon

November 30th, 2009
12:05 pm

CPJ is looking to get outa town and he will be humiliated after Clemson takes care of biz.

He will wind up at Cincy after Kelly bolts. ANYTHING to get outta tech he is thinking after that arse whuppin.

Heard that he might become the Passing coach at Louisville U or maybe at West Florida U in Pensacola. Board hands that Techer has. Board hands. He heard the soon to be laid thud on him. he choked.

Barry from Eastenders

November 30th, 2009
12:05 pm

Jeff — I gotta hand it to you dude, you certainly have a pair. You and Mark have fawned over the brilliance that is Paul Johnson for 12 months. Georgia was adrift with incompetent coaches who couldn’t get out of their own way. Then, wonder of wonders, Mark Richt and Willie Martinez pull Paul Johnson’s pants down on Saturday night and you act like it never happened. You have the balls to start telling Mark Richt what he should do, while Paul Johnson and his mighty 10-1 Jackets got pants’d by a mediocre team.

You and Mark Bradley are fighting for the title of “Baghdad Bob.” I fully expect that the next column from you and Mark will recount how Tech actually won on Saturday night and the whole Georgia victory thingy was just a figment of our imaginations. Nice work gentlemen.

GIVE ME A BREAK

November 30th, 2009
12:06 pm

Keep WILLIE, Please. THWG!!!!

HopefulDawg

November 30th, 2009
12:08 pm

Great point about Searles, Jeff. I thought the D-line played pretty good too. Haven’t seen Dwyer shut down like that before. Do you think Martinez would accept a demotion like DBs coach after being in charge for 5 years?

DawginLex

November 30th, 2009
12:08 pm

He has to have something lined up for coaching the defense in the bowl game. He has to communicate to recruits and make no mistake, defensive players pay attention to who they are going to be playing for.

This must be handled correctly or it could lead to:

1.) Embarrassing bowl loss if defense is not focused or prepared properly(enter your snide remark now)

2.) Losing recruits

I agree with Obama

November 30th, 2009
12:08 pm

We need CHANGE.

joe bob

November 30th, 2009
12:08 pm

Hey, Schultz, I think you need to keep your focus on Tech and the ACC. Your understanding of UGA/SEC football has proven to be pretty lame thus far.

As for recruiting, I don’t think Willie has hurt UGA’s efforts thus far.

Carroll Dawg

November 30th, 2009
12:09 pm

hop, are you crazy? Bobo called one heck of a game Saturday night and has kept us in a lot of games where the D didn’t. Willie has to go

Maddog

November 30th, 2009
12:10 pm

Jeff Schultz

November 30th, 2009
11:37 am

WE survived the transition from Donnan to Richt fairly well if memory serves me correct.

Tech Sucks

November 30th, 2009
12:10 pm

UGA — ACC champs!