Capital One Bowl 2013: No Taylor Martinez, Georgia Isn't the 'Typical Big Ten D'
With a month between the end of the regular season and most bowl games, there's plenty of time for players and coaches to provide "bulletin board material" to their opposition.
Georgia just got some in video form from Nebraska quarterback Taylor Martinez.
Martinez told the assembled members of the media in Orlando (h/t Seth Emerson of Macon.com) that Georgia's defense is a "typical Big Ten defense," and that they'll "be perfectly fine." (0:29 mark.)
No, Taylor Martinez. Georgia isn't a "typical Big Ten defense"—at least not lately.
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Sure, statistically, Georgia finds itself behind four Big Ten defenses in total defense after giving up an average of 351.2 yards per game.
However, ever since safety Shawn Williams called out his teammates for being soft prior to Georgia's 17-9 win over Florida on the last weekend in October, this defense has played like the crew that finished last season in the top five in total defense.
The Bulldogs have given up 332 yards per game over the last six games—a slight improvement. They've also gained 17 turnovers and lost only seven during that stretch. That margin of 1.67 turnovers gained per game would be the second-best mark in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) if Georgia was able to sustain it over the entire season.
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Todd McShay of ESPN (subscription required) projects two Georgia defenders who are eligible to play in the bowl will be selected in the first round of the 2013 NFL draft—linebackers Jarvis Jones (No. 13) and Alec Ogletree (No. 17). Defensive tackle John Jenkins is also projected to be drafted No. 21, but will sit out the bowl game due to academics.
Was Taylor Martinez out of line calling Georgia a "typical Big Ten defense?"
Only two players combined out of the entire Big Ten are projected to be drafted in the first round, according to McShay.
Plus, against Big Ten competition this season, Martinez hasn't exactly been stellar. He completed 59 percent of his passes, tossed 12 touchdowns and threw nine interceptions; as opposed to his 70.7 completion percentage, nine touchdown passes and one interception against non-conference competition.
Emerson notes that Martinez said something similar prior to last season's Capital One Bowl matchup vs. South Carolina. In that game, Martinez passed for only 116 yards, rushed for 37 and Nebraska managed only 253 yards of total offense.
Georgia isn't a "typical Big Ten defense," at least not the way they were playing down the stretch. Even if they were, saying they'll be "perfectly fine" is a bit of a stretch regardless.
Wherever the proverbial bulletin board went up at the Bulldogs' team hotel in Orlando, you can bet Taylor Martinez' quote will be put on it—as it should.
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