It was past time for defense to rule again at UGA

“It was definitely not a one-year knee-jerk reaction to this season. It was more of a decision that was made over the course of time. More time than just more than one year.”

There were too few of these high points under Willie Martinez. (Special)

There were too few of these high points under Willie Martinez. (Special)

That quote from Mark Richt on Wednesday, after he decided that Willie Martinez, Jon Fabris and John Jancek wouldn’t be returning as defensive coaches at Georgia, gets to the heart of the matter.The ebb and flow of defense under Martinez wasn’t the only problem the Dogs have had over the past few seasons, but it was the one that didn’t seem to hold much hope of improvement without a change.

As I noted the other day, Martinez usually coached his charges up a couple of times a year for a big game. But too many times over the past five seasons, since Martinez became coordinator, the Dogs looked poorly prepared on defense.

There were fan complaints about the weakness of the Georgia defense against the run and the tendency to leave receivers uncovered on big plays (”busted coverage,” as it was called) even during Martinez’s first season, the 2005 SEC championship year. Things looked even more dire during the midseason slump in 2006 and I first called for Martinez to be replaced after the Dogs were unable to stop Vanderbilt from driving for a win in Athens. The defensive Dogs rebounded in the last three games of that season, and I thought maybe I had rushed to judgment. They faltered once more early in the 2007 season before again finishing strong. (The Sugar Bowl domination of Hawaii was probably the best night of Martinez’s time as DC.)

Last year, though, the problems seemed more endemic, although the defense again rebounded in the bowl game. And the trend was pretty awful:

After giving up 30 or more points one time in four years under Brian VanGorder, Georgia yielded 30-plus 16 times in five years under Martinez. Worse, the Dogs gave up 37 or more points nine times in the past two seasons.  And over the course of Martinez’s tenure as DC, the average number of points yielded per season had ballooned from 14.6 his first season to 26.4 this year (31.5 in SEC games).

Richt couldn’t avoid the need for change any longer.

As for defensive ends coach/special teams coordinator Fabris and linebackers coach/co-defensive coordinator Jancek, they probably would have been doomed even if the performance of their units hadn’t sagged over the past several seasons, because any decent new DC is going to want to bring in his own staff. (Defensive line coach/recruiting coordinator Rodney Garner wasn’t let go, but since he’s been working for some time without a contract and has made no secret about his wish to be a head coach, chances are he won’t stick around long-term, either.)

Three good men losing their jobs is no cause for celebration. And as I said the other day, there’s no guarantee a new defensive coordinator will cure what ails the Dogs. But it’s encouraging that Richt recognized it was time for a change and made the move in a decisive manner, rather than simply demoting Martinez and bringing in a new DC to work with the old staff.

Traditionally, defense has been the foundation of successful times for University of Georgia football. There’s no reason that can’t be the case once again for Richt’s program.

73 comments Add your comment

You guys are morons...

December 3rd, 2009
7:09 am

I am with you Douglas – Tenuta is a joke, as are all the other “names” suggested here – Kines, Ellis Johnson, Amato, Smart, Joe Lee Dunn, Tony Dungy (now that is an all time dumbass suggestion), Mickey Andrews (are serious!?!?!) etc – even David Pollack said that Garner is a great recruiter and position coach but does not have the acumen to be a DC (and Richt knows this).

No, the way to go is to find an up and comer (possibly the guy at TCU – but their success may be due to who they play – but then, again, with the athletes UGA gets if he can coach UP he is a good choice – as would be Stgeele from Clemson, IF they can stop Tech this weekend!) like Bo Pellini was at LSU.

Hopefully, CMR knows who he wants – no all he has to do is “recruit”

Free Willie

December 3rd, 2009
7:17 am

Enter your comments here Check out the cool UGA Classic Tin Lunchboxes at CollegeLunchboxes.com They make great Christmas gifts. Go Dawgs!!!

Josh Fowler

December 3rd, 2009
7:25 am

I hate spammers

L-Dawg

December 3rd, 2009
7:26 am

GLORY GLORY TO OLE’ GEORGIA!!!!!

GREAT THINGS ARE ABOUT TO HAPPEN IN ATHENS!!! WHOEVER COMES OUR WAY, I THINK ITS A KNOWN INITIATIVE TO GET THIS DEFENSE BACK ON TRACK. ASSUMING RESHAD JONES IS GONE, AND THOUGH I THINK ITS A BAD MOVE ON HIS PART, RENNIE CURRAN IS GONE, IT’S TIME TO CENTER THIS DEFENSE AROUND BACARI RAMBO. WE NEED SOME YOUNG DAWGS TO STEP UP THOUGH.

I DO WISH ALL 3 OF THE ONES LET GO THE BEST OF LUCK.

AM I FORGETTING SOMETHING???? OH!!!! 30-24!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WE RUN THIS STATE!!!!!!!!

GO DAWGS!!!!!

AltamahaDawg

December 3rd, 2009
7:29 am

I wonder what the offensive staff is going to these guys this Christmas, for taking the fall for all of thier problems too. If I were Mark Richt, I would have pictures of these 3 posted on the wall for the next Off. coaches meeting.

This was the correct move, and the most effective way to shake up the staff. The offense will probably be on the rise for a couple of years, so would hav been a mistake to mess with that. But if we dont correct what has been the real reasons that we have lost ballgames (and a huge contributors to the points given up), you can get 9 DCs and it’s not going to matter.

martin

December 3rd, 2009
7:40 am

I hope we don’t lose garner to someone else in the SEC, that would be bad. But we can find the best recruiting coordinator too. We have the money. I just hope whoever Richt chooses that we give him sometime to implement his system. I think we will probably be suprised who comes to UGA, someone we don’t know too much about. Just my guess. All the names being thrown around, I can give two reasons they wouldn’t come to UGA. I’m a huge UGA fan, and I know we are are a top notch school, no matter what the gators, volunteers, or bama’s of the world are saying about us. I personally believe we’ll get someone who will succeed. I wish the other three coaches success in their future endeavors. It’s great to be a Georgia Bulldog.

Deep South Dawg

December 3rd, 2009
7:46 am

I honestly hate when people get fired, but if your not doing an effective job, then you run the risk of being fired….I wish these gentlemen the best in all their endeavours, but I never want to see one of them on one UGA’s practice fields ever again! Especially Fabris with his directional kicking crap!!!!

As far as the future….My preference would be Kirby Smart, but I was told by someone with ties to the program that he has done to many dirty things to UGA when it comes to recruiting. All I do know Is I want someone that going to bring enthusiasm and excitement back to the defense! and for God sakes hire someone that will play man to man on defense, and teach our freaking corners how to catch!

perrine

December 3rd, 2009
7:47 am

I was surprised to hear Bud Foster’s name tossed arround. He has done a magnificient job at Va Tech over the years. Not sure how much sense it would make for him to make the lateral move to UGA when he probably has a great shout at being the next HC there, but wouldn’t mind seeing it.

Worm

December 3rd, 2009
7:56 am

Brad Johnson figures into the coaching staff somewhere!

hop

December 3rd, 2009
7:57 am

it is never good to see coaches or anybody else lose their jobs,but i admire coach richt for taking this very bold move to elevate the program.

now, comes the really tough job of finding a great defensive staff to be able to compete in the toughest conference in college.

i think it will be a young defensive coach who has made his mark at a lower bcs level.

the names mention are already well establish like a kirby smart who want to go to another level and not take a lateral move.

i wish coach richt the very best as he attempts to put a top draw defensive staff together.

Bob Sanders from the Buffalo Bills...

December 3rd, 2009
7:58 am

…are you kidding me? He was my teammate at Davidson back in the early 70’s so he is old, too! He does have a pretty good pedigree (always good when coaching dogs) having coached for Spurrier at UF and being fired as the DC last year for the Green Bay Packers. But, as a DC at a major program like UGA? Get serious – besides, he would have to take a MAJOR pay cut to come back to the college ranks!

CJJScout

December 3rd, 2009
7:58 am

“Three good men losing their jobs is no cause for celebration.”

I’m as happy as anyone that changes were made, but this is so true. Hate for these men and their families.

HH

December 3rd, 2009
7:59 am

If Foster were to become the defensive coordinator at UGA and be really successful, he would have a hell of a lot better chance of getting a head coaching job then by hanging around Beamer at VA Tech? Didn’t GA Tech beat beat Beamer pretty good this year though? Sure you want him?

Larry

December 3rd, 2009
8:11 am

been a great time….highs and lows as a Bulldawg fan but have come to the decision I can no longer support or want to be part of a team whos fans take utter glee in bashing a team and it’s coaches and save the loudest cheer for three that were fired. Like all you trashbags know something more than players and coaches. this year has truely disgusted me. UGA was my school for 4 great years. It will no longer be my team.

Brar

December 3rd, 2009
8:20 am

“You guys are morons”-

An up and comer like the guy from TCU? Looks like you’re the moron…the guy is 60 years old you stupid a__wipe.

Todd

December 3rd, 2009
8:22 am

larry- while I dont agree with you changing your loyalities since you are a UGA grad, I do have to say I to have been a little taken aback on how our so called fans seem to respond to things and point to the fact many of the comments I have seen about the coaches being fired. I hope this is not our TRUE fan base

Hal

December 3rd, 2009
8:26 am

Larry… you’re an obvious poser. No UGA fan/grad bails because of idiots on a blog.

Hal

December 3rd, 2009
8:30 am

On another note, best of luck to those 3. Keep in mind guys, they made $250+ a year so no one’s going hungry anytime soon. They will all get jobs and move on, they knew the game when they got in it.

As far as who’s next? It has to be Kirby Smart. Although I have the same questions the media and probably some AD’s do.

A) He wants to be a head coach, but he probably can’t as long as the perception lives that his defense isn’t his but Nick Saban’s.

B) Will he be willing to slide laterally in order to step out on his own and prove that it is his defense and he does have the right skill set?

C) Why did he leave UGA a couple years ago? Relationship issues or his devotion to Nick Saban?

If that doesn’t work, maybe we just need to open the checkbook REAL wide and go get BVG back… if he’d actually come. I’m not sold on Ellis Johnson.

Larry

December 3rd, 2009
8:34 am

Hal- you’re an idiot….it’s not because of guys on the blog…..I have heard the same from supporters and other alum….big money people….so before you make a statement in response know what your talking about dude

Urban Meyer to NFL?

December 3rd, 2009
8:34 am

If I was a Florida fan, I’d never go to a Florida game again. Meyer is constantly in the rumor mill about jumping to the NFL or Notre Dame. Even people like USA Today and CBS Sports says Meyer is gone.
http://www.cbssports.com/columns/story/12585042/meyer-going-to-nfl-believe-it-numbskulls

Urban Meyer to Notre Dame?

December 3rd, 2009
8:38 am

Or he’s headed to Notre Dame. Meyer is Cathloic, named after a Pope, was a coach at Notre Dame bfore, called Notre Dame his dream job, and grew up in the mid-west.
http://www.usatoday.com/sports/columnist/kerasotis/2009-11-17-meyer-weis-notre-dame_N.htm

31 points in 7 games?

December 3rd, 2009
8:41 am

We need to get back to the 2003 style of defense where Georgia only gave up 31 points in the second half of it’s last 7 games.

DawgVoiceofReason

December 3rd, 2009
8:41 am

Larry,

I also agree with your sentiment but disagree with your decision to change teams (if that is what you’re doing). Please remember that you don’t really kmow the true loyalties (and identity) of ANYONE who posts here and I believe many are, in fact, imposters (as far as who they appear to be supporting). It is obvious that some post here with the sole purpose of “stirring things up”. In any case, this community, including myself, represent only a very small segment of the much larger Bulldawg Nation and probably don’t represent the average fan. I appreciate your concerns and would ask you to reconsider and continue being one who supports the Dawgs and ignore the ones who try to tear them down.

Starring Kam Fong as Chin Ho

December 3rd, 2009
8:53 am

two words………….John Chavis

JB

December 3rd, 2009
8:59 am

Somebody is at work this morning….in a football complex/gym whatever……having a cup of coffee…….thinking about a bowl game…….family………a fellow coach friend somewhere or looking at game film…….or on the road recruiting…………………………And he doesn’t even know that in 3 weeks or so he’ll be the NEW defensive Cord. at GEORGIA……kind of exciting isn’t guys !

MIke Bobo

December 3rd, 2009
9:00 am

WHEWWWWWWWWWWW I made the first round of cuts. Now back to working on that 3rd and 14 halfback draw play.

TommyP

December 3rd, 2009
9:03 am

First off, we will not go after “3rd and Chavis.” UT fans know what I’m talking about. He’s been a good def.coordinator but we need someone younger than that. Besides, he just got to LSU.

The moves were the right ones. Richt did what he had to do and so many criticized him for not doing it during the year. He did it at the right time (as far as this year…could’ve done it last year).

I trust Richt to hire the right guys that will fit our program best. Someone said Smart and I, too, have heard he’s lowballed Georgia a ton on the recruiting trail. Probably not someone that would fit this staff.

For those wanting Bobo gone…..did you know Georgia was #1 in points scored in SEC games this year with Arkansas? (29.2) I’m pretty sure you didn’t.

JB

December 3rd, 2009
9:04 am

You know, I think Les Miles is in trouble at LSU…….John Chavis may not be a bad idea…..Only problem, he’s only a couple of notch’s better than willie. Better, yes, great, hum , no.

Vick=Dog killing Thug

December 3rd, 2009
9:05 am

Not in 3 weeks I don’t think ??? Richt should take his time. Beat the hedges, I mean the bushes

Clay

December 3rd, 2009
9:06 am

Okay, Larry, we get you. Soooo ….. why don’t you get off the blog so we UGA “trashbags” won’t be “discusting” you any further. We know who you are Nerd!

Brandon2k3

December 3rd, 2009
9:08 am

I think we need a defensive coordinator that will install an agressive type defense. There is no need to sit back and wait till the receivers run their routes and let them catch the ball. The players need to get after them when the ball is snapped. Jam the receiver at the line or something. Bring in more blitz packages. I think Smart or Foster would be a good pick for the job. I think we have good recruited players, but it seems that we’re getting smaller on the defensive side of the ball. I guess they think speed alone win games. All the top SEC schools recruit Big and fast. Florida, Alabama, Lsu and now Tennessee might be back. Every 5star player is not going to always live up to the potential as he did in high school and every 3 or 2 star is not going to be just an average player on the next level. He might not have had the coach to bring that five star recruit out of him. All i am trying to say is let’s get back to the DAWGS we use to be and get after somebody. There is no way Florida should beat us every year. It’s beginning to feel like we’re intimidated by the name Florida. My choices for the DC are Kirby Smart or Foster. Let’s Go Dawgs!

Lance

December 3rd, 2009
9:09 am

Two words…………..Woody Widenhofer

Douglas

December 3rd, 2009
9:10 am

Garner and recruiting: if Garner leaves, I suggest we hire Giff Smith (is that his name) from Ga. Tech. Hate Tech if you want but this guy can recruit!

Dawg Fud

December 3rd, 2009
9:17 am

Reggie Herring, LB’s coach at Dallas Cowboys is going to get an interview

BigGAdawg

December 3rd, 2009
9:23 am

“Three good men losing their jobs is no cause for celebration.”

Very true. However, we do now have cause for optimism.

Larry, the obvious Tech puke, get back to polishing your hood ornament, you fool no one. No real Dawg fan could ever be so geeked out as to do what you are saying.

You guys are morons...

December 3rd, 2009
9:24 am

Woody Weidenhofer – hahahaha – John Chavis – hahahaha – both suck and are over the hill!

OK, Brar – I’ll admit I had no idea that the guy at TCU was so old, so I am a moron on that count.

But I stand by my suggestion that UGA MUST get an up and comer, a guy who is much younger than most of those mentioned (Kines, Dunn, Johnson, etc). Foster is about 45, but he most likely would not leave VaTech as he thinks he may be in line for that job when Beamer leaves (unless Beamer pulls a Bowden and stays until he is 80, like Mickey Andrews who stayed at FSU until he was 68!). So we need someone who is in his late 30’s and is known for aggressive style defense (though both Richt and Willie say that RICHT is the one who wants the “bend don’t break” type defense). Screw that – we need to be aggressive yet disciplined, like that team in central FL and central AL.

And who is the moron that wants a GT recruiter at UGA – again, hahahahahaha

Pumpdawg

December 3rd, 2009
9:26 am

Larry,
When you said you have been a Dawg fan for 4 years that tells me you’re not a true Dawg fan unless you’re only 4 years old.Go to any other teams blog and you’ll see all blogs have idiots and posers.Good luck with the next bandwagon you jump on.When that team goes down hill,you’ll see what I mean.

SoCal Dawg

December 3rd, 2009
9:29 am

If Larry is that big of a moron… BYE BYE!!!

hatfieldgeoff

December 3rd, 2009
9:31 am

Larry, if you are looking for a school where the alums (big money and small)don’t complain about the coaches and are not happy when guys who are not performing are replaced, you sir are going to have a long search. Better just move to a different sports. And I’m sure I speak for all UGA grads when I say how much I will miss you.

Punch'em in the face

December 3rd, 2009
9:38 am

Mark Bradley is vastly overrated, vastly.

Preston

December 3rd, 2009
9:42 am

GET ELLIS JOHNSON FROM SOUTH CAROLINA!!!!!!!! HE IS A PROVEN DC WHO CAN MAKE ADJUSTMENTS THROUGHOUT A GAME. SOMETHING WE’VE NEEDED FOR YEARS.

WildBill

December 3rd, 2009
9:42 am

Its about time! Thank you CMR for acting boldly. Now, what about BoBo?

VININGSDAWG

December 3rd, 2009
9:46 am

OK guys one more time! Tuberville, Muschamp, Van Gorder and Foster are not coming. So please quit making us look like fools talking about it. Smart is a maybe. Tyrone Nix could be had. He is not happy working for the Nutt.

Lance

December 3rd, 2009
9:47 am

You guys are morons

You are the stupid one punk. Woody had the best defense in the sec at Vandy dude. Have you ever watched his team play? I don’t think you have, he is the best i’ve ever seen. Imagine him with some 5 star players.

Will

December 3rd, 2009
9:49 am

If we go after Joe Kines I will puke! No offense Coach Kines but damn. Hell, if we’re going to go back to 1996 I might re-enroll at UGA and go through rush again! Seriously Damon Evans, stop being cheap and go get Kirby Smart and his staff. He will definitely be a breath of fresh air that we desperately need. Plus he will bring back the nasty JYD Defense I thought we would have this season.

Lance

December 3rd, 2009
9:52 am

Will

I agree, with you. I had enough of that bend and break defense in the late 90’s

Otto

December 3rd, 2009
9:55 am

Now what is UGA going to do about an offense that can’t control the balll, QBs that have tossed atleast 10 INTs a year for the past 4 years, and RBs that have fumbled the ball?

orange bowl band-wagon

December 3rd, 2009
9:59 am

10-2
…….not you !

TuckDAWG

December 3rd, 2009
10:04 am

First off kudos to CMR for making a tough decision i am sorry for the men and their families but thats how it is in football. Larry you are an idiot no real UGA fan would jump ship over anything you have to be a tech geek i dont know who coach will get for DC but he will make the right decision we are all behind you coach GO DAWGS!!

Otto

December 3rd, 2009
10:05 am

Will, Joe Kines was in Athens from 95-99 and was responsible for a night and day turn around. He also did a very good job at Bama from 03-06. He is not at the top of my list but he is far from last. Donnan’s 2nd year at 10-2 was also Kine’s 3rd and the 3rd year points allowed fell. Kine’s ‘05 Bama defense allowed only 128 points far less than BVG ever managed and that is with reduced scholarships.