OK, it’s official now: Oklahoma has confirmed the hiring of Willie Martinez, the deposed Georgia defensive coordinator, as its defensive backs coach.
And Bob Stoops, Oklahoma’s head coach who is known as a defensive guru, seems pretty thrilled about it.
“Willie is an outstanding coach and someone with a tremendous background in our profession,” Stoops said in a statement. “His experience is very impressive, and he will contribute a lot of very good things to our program. And not only is he a fine secondary coach, he’s a good recruiter with ties in Florida and a number of other places.”
Stoops traced his interest in hiring Martinez to past visits with the UGA coaching staff.
“Our staffs had been together exchanging ideas, and I was impressed with Willie,” Stoops said. “In those meetings, you not only get a feel for how well someone knows the game, but their ability to communicate and interact with other people, and Willie was a guy that represented himself and his school very well.”
Martinez seems happy, too, judging from his comments in Oklahoma’s announcement:
“Bob [Stoops] has won so many games and so many championships there that I am just very humbled to be part of that staff. . . I love history and tradition and I go back to my childhood and that Oklahoma name was just always the tops. And it still is, thanks to what Bob and his staff have done.
“I’ve known Bob back to his K-State days, and I’ve known all of those guys on the defensive side of the ball. It’s an outstanding group of men, and that’s what makes this such an attractive job. . . . Bob’s experience with defensive backs is something that I really like, and I want him being around us in practice. His input is invaluable, but his presence also is a sign to our players that there is a good emphasis on our position.”
Oklahoma pointed out Martinez’s record of producing NFL defensive backs, noting that over the past seven years ten of his DB’s at Georgia have been selected in the NFL draft.
Martinez, fired by Georgia on Dec. 2, reportedly was hired last week by Stanford as its defensive backs coach but had a change of heart when the Oklahoma job was offered.
A few other notes:
– Mark Richt confirmed Wednesday the long-rumored move of Richard Samuel from tailback to linebacker. He’ll be at the new position in spring practice.
– As for Logan Gray, long rumored to be considering a shift from quarterback to wide receiver, Richt said the latest word is that Gray will start spring practice still at QB.
– And now that Signing Day is done, thought you’d want to know the dates for spring practice: It starts with the first practice session on March 4, resumes (after spring break) with the second practice on March 16, then 12 more practices before the G-Day Game on April 10.
– If you missed it, here’s the wrapup on Wednesday’s actions by the UGA Athletic Board: approval of a new five-year contract for Damon Evans and of spending $21.3 million on construction projects at Stegeman Coliseum and Sanford Stadium.
Please follow me on Twitter for the latest UGA news and notes.