Bulldogs will face Brian VanGorder, Willie Martinez at Auburn

ATHENS – Three current and former Georgia defensive coordinators will be on hand Saturday night when the Bulldogs play at Auburn.

On one side, of course, will be Todd Grantham, in his third season as Georgia’s defensive coordinator. On the other side: Grantham’s two immediate predecessors.

Willie Martinez, a member of Georgia’s coaching staff from 2001-09 and defensive coordinator from 2005-09, is in his first season as Auburn’s defensive backs coach. Brian VanGorder, Georgia’s defensive coordinator from 2001-04, is in his first season as defensive coordinator at Auburn, his fourth employer since leaving UGA.

VanGorder left Athens on his own accord for a job as linebackers coach with the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars. After one season in Jacksonville, VanGorder spent a year as head coach at Georgia Southern and five years with the Falcons, the first as linebackers coach and the last four as defensive coordinator.

Martinez, fired by Georgia coach Mark Richt after the 2009 regular season, was Oklahoma’s secondary coach in 2010-11.

VanGorder and Martinez were on Richt’s first staff at Georgia. Richt was asked this week if it’ll feel weird to compete against them.

“All I know is, I love both of them. I love their families,” Richt said. “But I think we all know we’ve got to prepare our teams to play ball, and that’s what will be going on from kickoff to the end.”

Richt made clear his respect for his former coordinators.

“I’ve always had a lot of respect for their ability, especially as a tandem, to figure out what you like to do best (offensively) and make you do something that you’re a little uncomfortable doing,” Richt said.

But Auburn’s defense, like the rest of the 2-7 (0-6 SEC) team, has struggled this season.

The Tigers rank last in the SEC in rushing defense, ninth in pass defense and 10th in scoring defense. They held LSU to 12 points on Sept. 22 but later gave up 41 to Ole Miss and 63 to Texas A&M.

Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray said he doesn’t think the Auburn defensive coaches’ former UGA jobs will help them prepare to face the Bulldogs’ offense, noting that it has changed a lot even since Martinez’s last season on staff three years ago.

“Every single year we add more and more and more plays,” Murray said. “He wasn’t here when we were doing the no-huddle … and the up-tempo.”

Georgia cornerback Sanders Commings, a fifth-year senior,  looks forward to seeing Martinez on Saturday, or to Martinez seeing him.

“It’ll be fun playing against my old defensive coach,” Commings said. “… It’ll be a fun game to showcase my talents to him.”

Burnette’s status

Georgia offensive lineman Chris Burnette, the starting right guard, who left last week’s game against Ole Miss with a left shoulder injury, remains questionable for the Auburn game.

“We’re just not sure,” Richt said Tuesday.

After Burnette’s first-half injury, starting left tackle Kenarious Gates played mostly right guard in the second half against Ole Miss, with Mark Beard taking over at left tackle.

“I was comfortable moving over there,” Gates said. “I have fun at both (guard and tackle).”

67 comments Add your comment

joe jenkins

November 6th, 2012
6:09 pm

Please richt…..get theteam ready to destroy the tigers….gooooooooooodawgs

Dawg 13

November 6th, 2012
6:34 pm

Remember the CLASSLESS way they acted in 2010. Farley pile driving Murray, Gene, Trooper and Cam… Total Trash. Now it’s time to pay The DAWG

Jurdan Hair

November 6th, 2012
6:37 pm

Above all, don’t overlook ANY team in the SEC. I can guarantee you that Auburn has a some first rate players and many from the state of Georgia. Beware of a team with SEC talent and nothing to lose. Don’t you know that Martinez and Van Gorder would love to get a win, too? Watch them bring the house against the Dogs this weekend. Buckle up and get ready for a typical Georgia-Auburn game and GOoooooooooo Dogs!

joe jenkins

November 6th, 2012
6:42 pm

We need to come out of the gates quicker…..o-line you better be ready for a 60 min war


November 6th, 2012
6:57 pm

Will all the sports analysts and ESPN PLEASE PLEASE stop talking about this game as if the Dawgs have already won? We can’t look past any SEC team, especially Auburn, in their house. If we have any hope of beating Bama, if we get there, we’re gonna have to play like champions from here on.

Get Over It

November 6th, 2012
7:04 pm

@Dawg 13 Make no mistake, I hope the Dawgs roll over Auburn once more, but I’m pretty 45-7 is a dang payback and in 2010 the Dawgs weren’t blameless, we played kinda dirty too.

Max Sizemore

November 6th, 2012
7:12 pm

Georgia won’t have to worry about too many blitzes coming from VanGorder.


November 6th, 2012
7:17 pm

If Bobo does not call passing plays all day against Willie Martinez’s secondary he should be fired! BVG is a great coodinator but Willie just sucks.


November 6th, 2012
7:21 pm

Wow it did not take long for Oklahoma to figure out Martinez.


November 6th, 2012
7:34 pm

Murray may throw for 600 yds on slick willies bunch-Trooper Bagman Taylor most crooked asst coach in college football always dancing on the sidelines acting like a fool-they wont be any dancing sat bagman.


November 6th, 2012
7:37 pm

The flip side to this is that Richt knows them as well!!!!

GB's Hamburgers

November 6th, 2012
8:24 pm

It’s hard to imagine how a program like Auburn could fall on hard times so quickly. I thought they always recruited well. Van Gorder is a good coach. It could be a trap game if show up flat.

GB's Hamburgers

November 6th, 2012
8:30 pm

When I see Chisik I remember him smiling and applauding Fairly and those other thugs in 2010. I don’t think Murray has ever been the same. So the wretched year Auburn is having proves that God watches football.


November 6th, 2012
8:35 pm

LSU 12 Auburn 10. Enough said……the Auburn Tigers can play well if they want to. Be careful for the trap game. Go Dawgs!

[...] Familiar faces of VanGorder, Martinez will greet UGA at Auburn [...]


November 6th, 2012
9:20 pm

Willie Martinez= terrible
glad he is gone


November 6th, 2012
10:03 pm

Get Over It: You mean the O-linemen hitting thug Fairly after he took the cheap shot on Murray?

GA Girl

November 6th, 2012
10:20 pm

Martinez at Auburn may be why tigers are so bad this year. Isn’t Willie CMR’s bro in law?

Outer Banks Dawg

November 6th, 2012
10:35 pm

I’ll take Grantham’s NFL 3-4 over soft Willie and VanGorder any day. Georgia had some good defenses under VanGorder, but it had a lot to do with who was playing defense for us back then.

This defensive scheme we run now is so much more sophisticated, zone blitzing, mixing up pressure and coverages. Grantham is the man!

Go Dawgs!

Outer Banks Dawg

November 6th, 2012
10:41 pm

A healthy Jarvis Jones is a bad man. Bad Bad Leroy Brown. Rambo and Shawn Williams have been playing great ball and delivering hits. Corners are playing big time football too. commings & swann..Front 7 doing a much better job getting pressure and making stops .If our defense comes to play, we can play with anyone!


November 6th, 2012
11:55 pm

You forgot VanGorder’s cup of coffee in Columbia.

UGA Golfer

November 7th, 2012
12:15 am

Georgia has lost countless games to Auburn over the years including losses to horrible Auburn teams. Take heed. Should Richt lose this game, all he__ will break loose among the boosters.


November 7th, 2012
12:36 am

I love Malcom Mitchell, but I feel somebody needs to get to him before the Auburn game and before he costs UGA an important play that could cost us the game. He needs to tone down the showboating and taunting after making a good play and scoring a touch down. He needs to act like he’s made lots of good plays before and scored TD’s before. He needs to act like his roomie Jay Rome and stop acting like Greg Reid did at Lowndes/FSU. There are other Dawgs that can use this advice, too, but Malcom’s special – he’s a Wildcat from Valdosta!


November 7th, 2012
12:38 am

With Martinez as D Back Coach, our Florida State experienced HC should pass on every play!!

40 point spread over Martinez!


November 7th, 2012
4:43 am



November 7th, 2012
4:59 am

This is a rivalry game that has extra meaning because Auburn’s Chisik is on the hot seat plus with VanGorder and Martinez and all those Georgia boys on their team it makes for one amped up atmosphere. They will be coming out looking for blood and that is exactly how the Dawgs have to treat this game as well. Auburn has the talent to play with anybody if they show up i.e. LSU earlier this year. Plus they would like nothing better than to spoil the Dawgs season by denying them a berth in SEC Championship game. Anyways I hope the come out with intensity and poise and take care of business with some fun along the way.

Go Dawgs


November 7th, 2012
7:13 am

The dogs to me are a better team then they were 4 weeks ago . They will stay focus on the GOAL that is in front of them ( SEC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME ) and I think there will be beat down in Auburn this weekend . GO DAWGS !!!!

Half Century Dawg

November 7th, 2012
7:22 am

BigDawg hit the nail on the head, you can’t ever count Auburn out in this game. There have been to many times over the years they have knocked UGA out of an SEC title.


November 7th, 2012
7:57 am

The whole thing comes down to this.. win SEC championship game – loses and… well you see the gulf. The Turkey Buzzards are LAST in the SEC against the run. They will probably stack the box in order to avoid getting ground into dust and that means Murray has an opportunity for a huge day. This is assuming that Auburn doesn’t play their absolute best game…which they probably will. We need to punch them in the nose and keep hammering. No momentum.
The D needs to keep collecting turnovers. Take the ball away and the puddy tat’s bad team chemistry will surface. Time for the Dawgs to dominate from start to finish.


November 7th, 2012
8:00 am

doh… win – go to SEC champion ship game – lose and… (that’s what I meant to write)

Mitt Obama

November 7th, 2012
8:23 am

Be careful Georgia. Auburn still have good players.

Aloysius B.

November 7th, 2012
8:36 am

Has the girl who Sanders Commings beat up a few months ago recovered?


November 7th, 2012
8:59 am

Aloysius, just shut your trap. You can’t bad mouth UGA’s football team so you bring something like that up that has nothing to do with the price of tea in China. Just for that, Cummings will blitz from the blind side and give your QB a house call.


November 7th, 2012
9:02 am

I think UGA will be fine in the game as long as they don’t take their foot off the gas. We are far better, but games like this are when stats and records go out the window. Auburn has nothing to lose and we have everything to lose. Keep those chin straps tight, fellas!


November 7th, 2012
9:07 am

Trick plays, onside kicks to start halves, fake punts field goals–Auburn is going to throw everything at us at all times. The Tigers have absolutely nothing to lose and will come out firing on all cylinders–just watch.


November 7th, 2012
9:18 am

Surely, Willie Martini & VanGoober can’t stop the powerful UGA O!

old dog

November 7th, 2012
9:26 am

I know that some folks do not like to kick someone when they are down, but it is time for payback. The way Auburn acted over there the other year is reason to go over there and kick the sh*t out of them. Chisik ain’t worth a dog-gone…..and after his actions of two years ago, we should try an on-sides kick in the 4th even if the score is 49-0. like they said at the beginning of Saving Private Ryan, “Don’t shoot ‘em; let ‘em burn!”

Rob in Chapel Hill

November 7th, 2012
9:27 am

Good vibes on this one. I think Richt has his mind right and is working hard to keep the players’ minds right. He talked up Auburn so effectively in his press conference that he practically had me wondering how they’ve ever lost a game. Murray will pick up where he left off against Ole Miss, still plenty of people to throw it to. Gurley will pick up where he left off as well. I’ll admit to one concern: don’t want to get down by ten points right off the bat, especially playing at Auburn. Would feel a heck of a lot better getting up quickly by a couple touchdowns (duh). It would make sense for Auburn to do the same things Ole Miss did defensively early in that game, so I’d hope that Richt & Co are anticipating that and adjusting. As others have said, let’s remember 2010 and put a relentless, merciless whoopin’ upon them!


November 7th, 2012
9:42 am

We have to have our heads on straight and play hard,fast and smart from the opening snap, it would save the Barners season to beat us and keep us from repeating as SEC East Champs…Go Dogs !


November 7th, 2012
10:10 am

Agree that Dawgs can’t afford to overlook anyone, especially not their oldest rival. That said, the Dawgs have several things going for them.
1)Coaching. A clear advantage for a change.
2)Players. Talent rules.
3)At Auburn. Road team kills in this series the last few decades.
4)Willie Martinez. Nuff said.
5)1+4 = 40+

Light ‘em up! Go Dawgs!


November 7th, 2012
10:50 am

Vangorder was one of the best, if not the best, DC in the nation when he was at UGA. Yes there was great talent on the team, but we’ve all seen what great talent is with a bad DC (willie) and how great talent can play when they aren’t prepared (UGA’s D for much of the season). Also, as bad as willie was as a DC, he was very good as just a DB coach, remember all the good DB’s uga had when vangorder was DC. Saying all that, don’t discount these coaches, they have shown to be very good at these jobs in the past and they would want nothing better then to beat their old team.


November 7th, 2012
11:05 am

Lot’s of karma, feelings about this game. AU players playing for the Russian’s job, and the D playing special for VanGorder and Willie. We need to go in there like we did Florida. Be careful Dawgs


November 7th, 2012
12:11 pm

I hope Willie continues to run that soft “bend but don’t break” zone pass defense he deployed here at UGA. If so, Murray and our receivers will cut them up. I look for both Gurley and Marshall to each go over 100 yds against that weak defense. This game will be over by the half.


November 7th, 2012
12:42 pm

Ga. fans know that Auburn has nothing to lose. Auburn will be playing for respect. Auburn has the players. Auburn looked good against LSU. Ga fans know that CMR has been known to lay down against teams we are supposed to beat. MR has already talked about how musch he loves the Auburn DC’s. If Uga does get a nice comfortable lead, MR better turn the dawgs loose and keep scoring. We do not need to get into a close game with a team that is starving for a win. Auburn would love to put Uga out of the SEC championship. I do not want Uga to be the game that saved Chizeks job. FINISH THE DANG DRILL. I AM GETTING A BAD VIBE WITH ALL OF THE INJURIES. UGA HAS TO PLAY A COMPLETE GAME TO COMPETE WITH ALABAMA. GO DAWGS


November 7th, 2012
12:44 pm

A NC is in our sights. It may be a long shot. We need to beat every team as bad as we can. Score!!!Defense shutem down.!!!!!11

joe jenkins

November 7th, 2012
12:57 pm

I would say we blow aub out…..but without our two best wr’s…..I think we will struggle in the passing game…..thats why aub was able to hang around with lsu…because zack was unable to pass the ball down the field…..Our offense is at its best when we are able to hit the big plays down the field in the passing game….since bennett has been gone we havent had any long runs by marshall and gurley….and our scoring average has went down. its a scary situation to go on the road with so much on the line without all of your weapons

joe jenkins

November 7th, 2012
1:00 pm

any of yall delusional disneys disagree with my post….i mean we gave up 5 sacks in the first half….we have to play four quarters before its to late!!!!!!

Never overlook this game

November 7th, 2012
1:35 pm

Football is a game of execution and [emotion]. History has shown in this series that emotion can carry a team to victory. Oldest rivalry in the Southland renewed once again.

UGA must not overlook AU just b/c it is having a bad year. So, kick’em ’til AU stops gurgling.

War Eagle!!

November 7th, 2012
2:53 pm

Tough year – but re-booting. Trap game for UGA – and I expect Auburn to play lights out.

UGA might be be 8-1 – but in reality, IF UGA had Tennessee’s schedule – would have had at least 2 more losses and Richt would be on the hotseat.

UGA is just not that good. Florida GAVE UGA that win with 6 turnovers – several of those turnovers were gifts.

UGA’s defense is midlevel – and losing all their decent starters and your OLINE is horrible.

Still Jealous by that Cam Newton, Nick Farely beat down – WELL MAN UP Dawgs – quit being such spineliess wussies. We are not playing pop warner football – IT’s SEC football. UGA has the most whine whine whine.about being physically man handled. UGA gets the least mileage out of it’s talent.

Yep- we are re-booting this year – but soon will be beating the crap out of UGA again and watching the FANS cry. Don’t be surprized if Auburn wins this Saturday – you heard it here first.


St Simons

November 7th, 2012
3:11 pm

beat them by 1 to save Cheesestick and van Goober for yrs to come