Youth movement on defense? And the team as a train?

Hope you saw my stories posted Tuesday on Joe Cox’s crazy month, Richard Samuel’s fumbles putting his starting job in jeopardy and the UGA Athletic Board planning to take up the issue of Georgia-Florida at a meeting on Wednesday.

A few more things at this late hour from a busy day in Athens:

– Defensive coordinator Willie Martinez said after practice Tuesday that some of his younger players could get  increased playing time in the secondary. “We’re going to get some other guys some more opportunities,” Martinez said. “We’ve got some young players we’re trying to get in there.”  He specifically mentioned redshirt freshmen safeties Bacarri Rambo and Sanders Commings.  Martinez said some of Commings’  playing time might come at cornerback. Martinez also did not rule out increased time for true freshman cornerback Branden Smith, although he was notably burned on a long touchdown pass by Arkansas last week. “It’s not something you want to see, what happened to him in the game Saturday,” Martinez said. But he added that Smith is working hard, “and he gets better  each day, each week. So I’m excited about him.”

– Martinez said linebackers Darius Dewberry and Akeem Dent,  both of whom missed the Arkansas game with hamstring injuries, remain questionable for this week’s game.  Given those injuries, Marcus Dowtin is listed No. 1 on this week’s depth chart at middle linebacker, with Darryl Gamble No. 1 at strongside linebacker.

Mark Richt, meanwhile, said it’s “possible” cornerback Vance Cuff will be able to play Saturday after suffering a sprained MCL in his right knee last week. The injury looked worse at the time, but “we’re more hopeful than not” that Cuff could play against Arizona State,  Richt said.

– If you missed it, there was some significant injury news on the Arizona State side Tuesday: Thomas Weber, the Sun Devils’ exceptional placekicker, will miss Saturday’s game with a groin injury. He’ll be replaced by either a true freshman or a veteran linebacker.

– While not disagreeing that there’s plenty of room for improvement on defense in both pass rush  and pass coverage, Richt continues to cite turnovers and penalties as the Bulldogs’ biggest problems.  This is how he put it at Tuesday’s news conference: “I always make the analogy of the team being a train. You want to get that train on the track, and you want to get it rolling down the track and gain energy and momentum as you go. . . . Now we are getting it rolling pretty good [with back-to-back wins], but I think we’ll roll a whole lot faster if we don’t have the two anchors out the back of the caboose that are stuck in the ground dragging behind us.  And [those anchors are] our turnover ratio, [which] is very poor, and penalties, [which] have cropped up on us. If we can just cut those anchors loose, I think we will fly even better. And if we just improve in those two areas, I think everything will improve.”

– While Georgia’s interior defensive line has been stout against the run, it has not been effective in putting pressure on opposing quarterbacks.  Richt:  ”One area where I thought we might be putting a little more pressure on the quarterback, but really haven’t up to this point on a consistent basis, is right up the middle. We need to get more from the inside push.”

– And finally, here’s Tavarres King, talking Tuesday about  A.J. Green: “That’s Superman right there. He really is. Nothing he does surprises me.”

79 comments Add your comment


September 23rd, 2009
1:12 am

First all the way from Cali.
A true Dawg fans knows that we will be OK. The D will settle down or WM will get fired, as simple as that. The O will continue to score points because BOBO is being looked at by other schools and he needs proof that he can put points on the board. Calm down True Dawg fans.


September 23rd, 2009
1:30 am

Does any one ever point out the obvious missed assignments to CMR when he blames all the opponents scores on the turnovers?


September 23rd, 2009
1:50 am

I like CMR he is a Good coach and A Good Man! He is a Helluva Recruiter and we are Stocked with a lot of talent! But I dont understand why he doesnt see the most obvious problem with the team! We dont have a DC! He is Medicore at best! he doesnt get the Best out of any of our Recruits! Our defense should NEVER be ranked 97th in the Country! Our OC is decent but very inconsistant from game to game! He gives up on the run to easy! Listen CMR if you ever want to be in the National Championship Race you must FIRE CWM and hire Someone who can get the best out of our Nationaly Ranked Recruiting Classes.


September 23rd, 2009
2:04 am

Got on Mark’s blog too late so will comment here.

Most of you WM defenders just don’t want him fired midseason. Relax, it’s not going to happen! Even some of you realize it should happen after the season. The only way there is a change before the season end is if he did the right thing and stepped down.

I am sure WM is a fine man and has a fine family that CMR feels a certain responsibility towards. There are many other jobs within the athletic department where he could be placed and continue to help us with recruiting. Most of us would welcome it.

Fans on here are extremely frustrated that our voices have not been heard before. Many of you make excuses and refuse to see the light. Last year it was injuries, and this and that…blah, blah, blah. The trend over several years that we have been screaming about and that Mark Bradley points out much more accurately and succinctly cannot be denied. You can try to detract from the way we state our case or the way we type, but the fact remains the trend does not lie.

I am not advocating he be fired mid-season, but…I did advocate he be relocated LAST offseason, not the coming one. That is what is so frustrating.

As for you bloggers who continue to point out the turnovers and the field position we put the defense in, well that’s football. IF our defense created some takeovers, then maybe they would be off the field and take a breather. Your excuse doesn’t hold water; other defenses can create takeovers…or is there some other cause.

Another blogger accurately pointed out that many of the defensive players before WM were recruited for offense and converted. Erk made a career of turning the offense’s rejects into defensive stars. You will remember earlier in CMR’s tenure he kept downplaying individual honors by saying that if the team won, individual honors would come. Guess what? He is right! That is why we have no preseason awards.

We deserve an Elite DC, one that has proven himself. All that matters is that he can coach defense out of his mind, within the rules, and represent the University well or be smart enough to keep his mouth shut. The potential of this team is severely limited by its present play on defense. When DBs are not even in the wide angle picture when a QB has completed a pass all the way across the field on 4-6 plays in a single quarter, how can you defend it?

Excellent and courageous article by Mark.

Oh, and BTW, I do bleed red and black and do not want to see us lose so it will make my case correct as some on here suggest.


September 23rd, 2009
5:55 am

I would submit that Fabris needs to hit the road as well. His DE recruiting has been deficient, and that is a big reason for the defense’s current ineptitude.

His staunch resistance to kicking the ball into the endzone is another huge problem.

Billy Ellison

September 23rd, 2009
6:17 am

“Train Wreck” would be more appropriate!


September 23rd, 2009
6:51 am

As CMR has brought up again, he believes that our defense is SEC Championship calibur if not for turnovers, Have you ever tried to convince your boss he is wrong, most of the time its not gonna happen, as in his case, i am of the belief we are misjudging some players, but If Alabama had Mark Ingram leave early they had Richardson, who is very good, we have our hopes pinned on a linebacker turned running back who probably would shore up our defense were he on that side of the ball…..i was excited as you were on that 80 yd run, but wth is caleb king, he was our next great running back, has he no heart? are we babying him too much…..i hope not…..a championship team has depth at every position, do we? i think so…go dogs

Sautee Dawg

September 23rd, 2009
7:01 am

Joe, your assesment of coach Fabris is the same as mine. He’s also responsible for the missed assignments on kickoff coverage. Saw him and Coach Willie Martinez get into a face to face argument last year at the GA/Fla. game, don’t know if CBS showed it or not but they were obviously arguing with each other. Best i remember it was after a punt return by FLA.
These 2 need to get on the same page together and create stronger defense with the talent we have. Not suggesting either should be fired but held accountable instead of blaming it on something that it’s not.


September 23rd, 2009
7:20 am

why is everyone analyzing the defense to death,no pass rush, no turnovers, yada,yada,yada. There is a different scenario every week. There is only one thing wrong with the defense and that is the defensive coaches, period!!!! UGA has great athletes (i.e. check out how many go to the NFL). Martinez said in the spring that he didn’t check out other teams schemes because there was nothing wrong with his schemes. Sooooo, if there is nothing wrong with his schemes there must be something wrong with the teacher, right? Unfortunately I don’t think anything is going to change because when Martinez leaves Georgia it will only be when he and Richt leave together in the same suitcase unfortunately!


September 23rd, 2009
7:31 am

Can we stop beating the WM and Coach Fabris horse? We all know that WM needs to step up or step out, and we need to stop directional kicking. Enough already. Let’s talk about something positive, like AJ Green. I may being a gianormous homer on this one, but when is this guy going to start getting some Heisman talk? 95% of his catches have been circus grab. He is averaging 92 yds per game at 16 yds per reception. I am not saying that he deserves to win, just be in the discussion. Especially this year when the award seems to be up in the air.

hamburger lipps

September 23rd, 2009
8:00 am

CMR its a train wreck until you replace Willie. Its a shame that this will overshadow players like AJ Green because of friendship.


September 23rd, 2009
8:07 am

We’re giving up TOO many yards and points…I don’t claim to be a Defensive Coordinator, but we have Coaches who do. FIX IT!!


September 23rd, 2009
8:10 am

Enter your comments here
The defense has huge problems, no doubt about it. But does being a GA fan these days mean ONLY pointing out the negatives. There were some very positive things in the ARK game. Joe Cox showed that he IS an SEC QB and C. King ran the ball well for the first time. Some of y’all need to stop blogging so much and just try, FOR ONCE to enjoy being a GA fan. Some of y’all get as much pleasure out of a loss as you do from a win because it allows you to go negative. Hell, you can’t even enjoy a good win like ARK. The D is going to get better but they are probably going to struggle all year. Every game this year is going to be a struggle. So get used to it and try to enjoy football season. We all waited all summer for this. We are NEVER going to dominate the SEC year in and year out like some of you think we should be doing.


September 23rd, 2009
8:15 am

Richt is no dummy. He sees the defensive [problems just as much as we do..he just isnt going to publicly throw Willie under the bus. I predict that if things dont improve, a change will be made at the end of the year. Nothing will happen until then, so we may as well quit bitchin.

Topp Dogg

September 23rd, 2009
8:30 am

Alumni freeze all donations and changes will be made you can bet on it.


September 23rd, 2009
8:36 am

Kick the ball into the endzone. The 25 yard line is better than the 40. CMR, quit trying to explain stuff to us. Make changes and create results!


September 23rd, 2009
8:46 am

If you bunch of Sunday morning coaches, coordinators and quarterbacks know so freaking much, PUT UP OR SHUT UP!

I am a lifelong dawg fan, and fans like you make me sick!

Quit your day job, go become the coach at XXXXXXXXXX and get UGA, Mark Richt and Willie Martinez on the field and prove it, I DARE YOU! You bunch of gutless POS!

I’m sure every single one of you is far more competent at running a Div 1 Football program than Mark Richt, that’s why you’re sitting behind a desk, or a steering wheel, or mop bucket, or phone bank, for a paycheck.

Why don’t you take Belue’s advice and STFU! For any of you retards to suggest that CMR doesn’t know what he doing or that he’s protecting a friend, is just downright stupid.

Duhhhh; let me see, jeopardize my future and my lively hood, and my public image, yea, lets to that! I want to be out of a job and look like an idiot!

Fans like you don’t deserve a championship caliber team! Or Mark Richt. Some day Chan Gaily will be at UGA; It’ll be karma, and you bunch of losers will deserve it!

Do you have any idea what the South Carolina faithful would do to trade for UGA’s success?

Hey here’s a good suggestion, Delta is ready when you are, get the hell outa Georgia!



September 23rd, 2009
9:09 am

amen uga seven,
couldnt have put it better myself, as a life long dawg fan, i love that cmr wont throw anyone under the bus.. but for all of you who think he doesnt know whats going on your crazy.. Just remember “theres a time and a place for everything” and the middle of the season is not the time to talk about firing a coach…


September 23rd, 2009
9:13 am

I don’t think I realized we were thin at linebacker last week, and probably this week as well. What’s happening with Marcus Washington? He was a beast at LB before missing last year. I definitely thought he would be an impact player when he returned. Last I heard he’d moved to DE and back to LB, but I guess he’s not starting. Tim, any updates on him?

Tim Tucker

September 23rd, 2009
9:46 am

robodawg: CMR said last week that Marcus Washington was working at both DE and LB. He’s listed on this week’s depth chart at DE.


September 23rd, 2009
9:48 am

Hey fellows lightin up.We are winning.Play all the young players.Enter your comments here


September 23rd, 2009
9:51 am

everyone should relax and let the season play out. By the end of the year South Carolina and Arkansas might be better than people gave them credit for in the preseason. Georgia has young talent at corner and they have missed some assignments. The offenses we have played have made some great catches also. The turnovers are a huge factor obviously as well as the penalties. Richt is right about that. It changes the game and your defense is back on the field, momentum, everything changes. That being said I think Sanders Commings needs to be on the field at the other safety spot. He is much more athletic and plays the ball better than Bryan Evans who needs to be on the field only in dime coverage situations or nickel. The best athletes are Commings, Jones, boykin, smith, and Rambo. Evans is the weak link just like last year and all the teams know it. The next two games will tell us all a lot more about the season’s real chances.

Jack Bull

September 23rd, 2009
10:01 am

well said uga seven!!!! all these people calling for CWM’s head are doing nothing but hurting the program…do you people not think that potential recruits are reading this stuff?? WE ALL KNOW THE CIRCUMSTANCES…even CMR knows.. but lets just calm down, especially while we’re winning some games, and lets see what happens.. if we were 0-3, THEN and ONLY THEN, should we be making such a huge fuss!!!! when we win the SEC this year, i expect sincere apologies from folks like, mark bradley, PTC Dawg, hamburger lipps, and many many more…i know that the glass must be half empty with most of y’all people, maybe you should go about it being half full sometimes….



September 23rd, 2009
10:17 am

stop all the bashing and lets go kick some asu tail!


September 23rd, 2009
10:20 am




September 23rd, 2009
10:32 am

Well, look at the bright side Dawg fans….at least your offense is working. Against Miami we had NOTHING working. Anyway, I think your offense seems to be able to keep you in any game at the moment. A.J. Green is certainly the real deal. However, I’m not sure you can keep up this Texas Tech let’s-just-outscore-everyone thing when you start facing some tougher teams on your schedule….With LSU in a couple weeks and NC and VT looming for us, I think both programs will get a feel for where this season is heading soon. One thing I observed that should make Dawg fans feel a little better….Florida sure didn’t look like the juggernaut they’ve been made out to be this past weekend against UT. (Caution, here comes my love for the ACC) I’d venture to say right now that the best team in the state of Florida is….Miami.


September 23rd, 2009
10:35 am

UGASeven is an idiot. An absolute kool-aid drinking WM apologist. Willie Martinez is the worst defensive coordinator I can remember at UGA in the past 30 years. In the last seven games, his defense has given up 41, 38, 49, 38, 45, 24, 37,and 41 points. That’s 37 points or more in six of the last seven games. Van Gorder’s defenses gave up over 30 points JUST ONCE IN 42 GAMES. Is our talent level on defense just that much worse than it was when Van Gorder was here? No, it isn’t. It’s evident to anyone with half a brain that coaching is the issue, and that goes all the way up to the top (WM, and ultimately CMR). I’m not advocating that UGA get rid of Richt. He is obviously one of the best coaches in football, and I wouldn’t trade him for anyone other than Urban Meyer or Nicky Saban (as much as it pains me to say that). It is clear, though, that with Martinez as our DC, we are not going to compete for an SEC championship again.


September 23rd, 2009
10:36 am

Georgia Tech coaches can make huge changes on D. UGA coaches blame the offense and special teams. WOW!!!!!

Sideline Observer

September 23rd, 2009
10:39 am

As several have noted above, I think UGA’s biggest problem is in its defensive lineups and schemes (results of poor coaching) AND with our receiver’s coach. Last week the UGA receiver’s finally played a decent game. But year after year we sign top ranked receivers and it seems like they never improve a whole lot. I think these two are the weakest areas on the UGA staff. CMR needs to wake up and realize his best friend (Willie M) may not be the good coach he thinks he is. I mean, my gosh, why can’t we put pressure on passers? Why are our db’s constantly being beat down field? We sign top athletes every year. Come on CMR. Quit blaming the players. I know you (CMR) won’t read this but I sure hope somebody close to you will. If we could only find another IRK!


September 23rd, 2009
10:42 am

Do you people really think that Martinez coaches the players to play the way they do at times? I doubt it seriously. He knows what he is doing, he knows schemes, he coaches them correctly, the players just make mistakes at times. It has to be very frustrating to him and all the defensive coaches to watch the players make mistakes when they know better. Youth in our secondary coupled w/ NO pash rush is what is the issue. The secondary is getting better everyday/game. We must get a push up the middle along w/ pressure off the end to disrupt the oppositions passing game. It will come. Turnovers and penalties have killed us. We have a team stopped but get a penalty. Gives them new life, saps life out of us. We put the defense in a tough situation w/ a turnover. More momentum for our opponent. Start supporting the DAWGS instead of complaining. Three games thus far, 2-1 is not bad especially when you consider 2 of 3 games on the road. Sick QB for opener and in a hostile environment against a team that had looked forward to the game for all off season. Could we have won, YES. Should we have won, YES. Did we play well, NO. You will not beat a good team making turnovers and commtting penalties. Both are correctable.

There is alot more football to be played and alot of great games coming up starting this Saturday. I don’t get to go to the games as my financial situation won’t allow it. To those of you that do go, give the team the support it needs and make it tough on the visitor to play there. SC game was loud and you could hear it on the TV. I am sure Arizona State will be the same way. Support your DAWGS, stop the whining or go support another team.


September 23rd, 2009
10:44 am

Richt is right. The most pressing issue is simply playing clean football.

They need to eliminate turnovers and all mental penalties. If they play clean football changes they make to combat the non existant pass rush and the outright terrible safety coverage will be more effective.


September 23rd, 2009
10:49 am

Yeah yeah I know I’m a high school fan, but I follow UGA also and have been a life long UGA fan. I saw where GaTech has changed their defensive alignment. Maybe Willie M. should consider changing UGA’s to a 7-5-8 alignment that hopefully will put enough players in the right places at the right times, something that Willie M. seems incapable of doing otherwise.

sr citizen dawg

September 23rd, 2009
10:49 am

It seems we continue to practice and play defense on a trial and error basis. It stands to reason that all player issues and schemes would be resolved and set in stone prior to the beginning of the season and practices thereafter serve to fine-tune them. Based on media reports we have the personnel to do the job (even with the injuries). Why isn’t it happening? I don’t advocate throwing anybody under the bus but merely think a re-examination of the defensive scheme is in order.


September 23rd, 2009
10:50 am

Last night I decided that I am going to give WM. a break and let the season play out. I think offensively we will continue to score a lot of points, even when we play the better SEC teams. If we stop turning the ball over, we will win some games 42-21, so I will shut my mouth about the Dawgs D for the rest of this season.

Unless we score 40 in a loss again!!!!


September 23rd, 2009
11:16 am

Defense can’t get any worse. Might as well let some younger players get some valuable experience.


September 23rd, 2009
11:19 am

AJ is Superman & a freakish athlete…so many other guys have been called “Freak”…so let’s call him…wait for it…Super Freak!

I read SI’s NFL preview on the NFL which had an article on how there’s group of freakish athletic WR’s that are changing the & there’s more in the pipeline. I just smiled because we have one right now in AJ! He made some catches in the SC game that I had to look at the reply just to believe them. On TV there even more impressive!

So what will the Super Freak do this week?!?


September 23rd, 2009
11:23 am

For some of you who don’t get it, let me explain. As a coach, you are hired to produce results on the field. If you are not producing the desired results you lose your job. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have the athletes, they don’t listen, turnovers, blah, blah blah. These excuses only work for a limited time. After a while it doesn’t matter, you aren’t producing for whatever the reason may be, you’re done. How long will they give him???


September 23rd, 2009
11:28 am

PMC- I have to agree. How does playing cleaner football help to develop a pass rush and put our secondary in the right places to make plays??? I usually try and give the coaches the benefit of the doubt but I’m just not seeing any improvement.


September 23rd, 2009
11:31 am

yelloandblackattack- I’m not 100% sold on Miami’s D. They looked good against ya’ll but I would like to see them a little more. They look like they can score on anybody though.


September 23rd, 2009
11:41 am

“Dawgfacedboy”…..Yeah, that comment was probably a little premature. It could be that our woeful offensive performance made them look a lot better than they are…unfortunately. Now if they put a beatdown on VT this weekend…maybe there will be some merit to my comment. Their QB sure looks like he’s the real deal. And he, just like A.J. Green, is going to be around for a long time….sigh….


September 23rd, 2009
12:26 pm

A 7-5-8 allignment? Well Viking fan, if the refs will allow us to have 20 players on defense then I’m for it too!


September 23rd, 2009
12:45 pm

Tech fan here…I noted a comment above about UGA needing an ‘elite defensive co-ordinator…’ I admit, I am not sure what the definition of that is…but I have to say that if your defensive COACHING matched your pure defensive TALENT, I would pick the Dogs to win the SEC. As a Tech fan, Wilie Martinez gives me hope…anyway, good luck against Azzy State, avoid the injuries…I hope we can get our program on track before we see you on the Flats in November!


September 23rd, 2009
12:46 pm

7-5-8 alignment on defense…my Jackets could use that!


September 23rd, 2009
12:50 pm

The Train ain’t worth a Damn with Martinez as Conductor!


September 23rd, 2009
12:57 pm

I think the 5-8-7 would have worked better against SC.


September 23rd, 2009
1:21 pm

Enter your comments here
Well said Knoxdog. Not well said 7dog. The last two weeks I have seen a more junkyard like
attitude on D and our db’s were in position much of the time but being young didn’t really believe the catch was going to be made and so didn’t make the play. Certainly, they blew it completly a few times, but I see that happen in the nfl with well designed plays and good ball handling skills by the qb. I am so encouraged after a lackluster performance at oks. If the final score had been 52 -27 last
week it would look so much better and that is what it was plus the 21 we gave to them. Go Dogs!!

Wonder if...

September 23rd, 2009
2:03 pm

Does Coach Richt realize a train does not have an anchor and does not fly? So, we get specifics of what the offense and special teams need to do to improve. But, with the defense, we get a bad train analogy full of jumbled jargon. Great “team” attitude there Coach.


September 23rd, 2009
2:23 pm

It has been said over and over and I am going to say it again. If Willie Martinez was worth a damn as a DC some other school would be trying to hire him away as a coach or as a head coach at a smaller school. It aint gonna happen!!!! Shouldn’t that tell M.R. something. This guy is sorry as he*l. FIRE WILLIE MARINEZ.


September 23rd, 2009
2:27 pm

And if all you people think it is not coaching then why did Alabama’s program do a 180 when Nick Saben became coach? Did the players that M. Shula had on his team suddenly become football geniuses? IT IS COACHING. FIRE WILLIE MARTINEZ.


September 23rd, 2009
2:46 pm

Enter your comments here
One of the anchor’s name is Martinez and the other anchor’s name is Fabris! I saw we cut the chains and let the train roll!