By The Numbers: Is Willie Martinez's Job Safe At Georgia?
With the current struggles of the Bulldogs, many fans are looking for someone's head to roll. Impatience among the Georgia faithful is growing and the heat is being turned up on Mark Richt to make the right decisions regarding his coaching staff.
Another week and another loss has the current spotlight resting on defensive coordinator Willie Martinez. Since taking over the job in 2005 the program has seen the defensive plummet from what was formerly known as one of the SEC powerhouses. The following is a list of some daunting defensive statistics in the Martinez era.
2005 2006 2007 2008 2009
14.6 17.1 21.0 25.6 27.8 Points Allowed Per Game
298 264 325 318 358 Yards Allowed Per Game
2 4 3 10 11 SEC Rank On Defense
The numbers don't lie; Georgia's defense has grown steadily worse from year to year.
Currently the defense is giving up nearly twice the points per game that the team was allowing in Martinez's first year. In addition, the yards per game have increased by over 60 yards.
With the increasing talent level in the SEC, it would be easy to dismiss the points and yards as a product of playing against the nation's best offenses. The last statistic is the killer though showing that Georgia has quickly fallen from one of the best defenses in the conference to the bottom of the pile.
Another scary statistic for Georgia fans is one that links SEC Championships to defensive ranking in the conference.
Every team in the last six years to win an SEC title was ranked either No. 1 or 2 in total defense in the conference. Currently Martinez has not been able to produce that caliber of defense leaving the Bulldogs looking out and looking up to the top teams in the conference.
While Martinez has his strengths, he is unable to produce the type of defense that Georgia needs if they are going to compete among the best. The Bulldogs are obviously a step or two lower than Florida and until they get back to their roots on defense they will continue to play the role of little brother.
Regardless of how the rest of the season turns out, I expect that Martinez's days are limited in Athens. Look for Richt to replace the defensive coordinator and try to reestablish Georgia as a power defensive team in the South.
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