One of the more disturbing quotes that came out of the Georgia-Tennessee game was this one from Vols quarterback Jonathan Crompton, because I think it says volumes about Georgia’s decline as a defensive team over the past couple of seasons. Explaining his unexpected success against the Dogs, Crompton said: “We got the right play calls because we knew what they were going to do.”
Which brings us to one of Willie Martinez’s chief weaknesses: His predictability and lack of adaptability. I know we’ve heard that, contrary to fans’ perceptions, Martinez does make midgame adjustments in his schemes. He just doesn’t seem to make successful adjustments very often.
The most recent example is Georgia’s failure to adjust to Tennessee’s play-action bootlegs, not exactly a New Age offensive wrinkle. Perhaps the problem was on the field, not the sideline, with players unable to make whatever adjustments Martinez called for. But the bottom line is that he trained them that way.
Of larger concern to many observers is that Martinez has the Dogs playing basically the same defense as when he took over from Brian Van Gorder, and he doesn’t change it much, no matter who Georgia’s opponent is.
Offenses keep evolving in the SEC, but the Dogs’ defense stands pat.
T Kyle King of DawgSports provides some historical perspective by taking a look back at how Georgia got back on course after a subpar year in 1974 that left Bulldogs fandom in a nasty mood. Among other things, Erk Russell scrapped a defensive alignment that wasn’t working.
King notes that “Willie Martinez has demonstrated no degree of schematic adaptability comparable to that exhibited by Erk Russell; clearly, a new direction — and probably new blood — is needed. Coach Martinez has had time to change his system, and all we have gotten is more of the same, which we do not need.”
I agree, though I part company with King (no relation) over his suggestion of Tommy Tuberville as the best choice for Georgia’s next defensive coordinator.
First, I doubt Tuberville would want to take an SEC assistant’s job. And I doubt Mark Richt would want a former rival head coach on his staff, possibly lobbying for elevation to the top position.
I think a younger DC with Georgia ties makes sense. As King notes, we can forget about Will Muschamp. He’s the head-coach-in-waiting at Texas. As have others, I’ve previously mentioned Kirby Smart, who has trained under a great defensive mind in Nick Saban at Alabama, but who is never going to get much credit for the Bama defense as long as Saban is around.
Of course, UGA ties are not a necessity. Got any likely candidates you’d like to suggest?