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November 29, 2008
Feeling the heat
Georgia defensive coordinator Willie Martinez was one of the first ones out for interviews following Saturday's 45-42 loss to Georgia Tech.
The media members who waited certainly had their share of questions. With good reason.
It's been a trying year for Martinez, who has now seen his defense allow 38 or more points in five of Georgia's 12 games in 2008.
This latest effort certainly wasn't pretty.
Georgia Tech's triple-option ran roughshod over Martinez's defense by rushing for 407 yards, the most against Georgia since 1994 (Vanderbilt). "
"Again, missed tackles," Martinez said. "Their players made plays and our players did not."
After the game, head coach Mark Richt was asked about Martinez, a lightening rod of sorts for Georgia fans, who have pointed a collected finger at the long-time assistant as the person responsible for much of the Bulldogs' defensive woes.
Richt however, wasn't prepared to blame anyone.
"A lot of time when things don't go the way you want them, people want to find someone to blame," Richt said. "I'm not going to do that."
He did acknowledge, however, that there were issues that need correcting.
"I would say that we would not have won the South Carolina game without the way the defense played. I would say they did a lot better in the Florida game that they're given credit for consider the position the offensive put them in," Richt said. "I think without bowing our neck at the end of the Kentucky and Auburn game, we don't win.
"But we've been up and down, there's no doubt, but we've been up and down in a lot of areas. But there is a time between the end of the season and the bowl game where there will be a time for reflection on what we might have done different, what we can improve on."
There appears to be plenty.
Big plays bit the Bulldogs for the entire game as the Yellow Jackets ripped off three runs of 54 or more yards, including two for 60-plus by Jones and Dwyer.
"Against that system, you've got to make plays," Martinez said. "We had plenty of three and outs (three), but we weren't doing it. You just can't make mistakes. Again, it's the missed tackles, not taking your key. We've got to do that every play."
Linebacker Rennie Curran was certainly shaking his head.
Curran said the Bulldogs spent the past two weeks pouring over film of the triple-option, but in the end simply could not execute what they had planned.
"We talked all week about when you've got 10 guys doing something right, if one guy messes up then the whole thing can do down," Curran said. "We just had to be on top of our assignments and we didn't do that."
Curran added that's what surprised him most of all.
"The first half we took care of business but we couldn't stop them the second half. One thing would go wrong and it was out the gates," he said. "With this offense, everyone has to be on the same page. One mistake can turn a play into a big one."
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