November 9, 2008

Richt defends Martinez

Apparently, [tm]Georgia[/tm] coach Mark Richt has heard rumblings that many in media and the Bulldog Nation have been very critical of defensive coordinator Willie Martinez.

Sunday, Richt staunchly defended his assistant, particularly the notion that Martinez has the Bulldogs playing passively and he's not doing everything he can to get Georgia's defense back on track.

"People don't get it. They think they do, but they don't," Richt said during his weekly teleconference. "So I'd love to say if people really knew football they'd know we've been blitzing, we've been playing Cover-Zero, Cover-One, Robber, going from a Fire Zone to Cover-Three behind and Fire Zone with Cover-Two behind it. If they really knew football they wouldn't say the things they say but they don't."

Richt argued further that the Bulldogs are doing nothing different defensively than they have done in his eight years as head coach, although he acknowledges that's Georgia's current struggles are a fact that obviously needs to improve.

"Our philosophy has not changed at all in eight years," Richt said. "That's not the problem. It takes the entire team to play good defense. It takes the offense, it's a lack of turnovers, it takes our special teams to play well, and it takes the defense to play well.

"It takes us to not have penalties when we stop a drive that then keeps the drive going. It takes all those things. It's a team game."

Richt admits it hasn't been pretty.

Georgia ranks next-to-last in the SEC in scoring defense (24.9), 10th in sacks (17), eighth in total defense (308.9) and 10th in passing defense (206.3).

But as far pointing fingers as to who's to blame, Richt's not about to play that game.

"The bottom line is the coaches have to put the player in position to make plays and the player has got to make the play once that happens," Richt said. "We area team and we are not going to point fingers in the media. We always go back and look at things that we've got to do, whether it's a coaching decision or a player-execution situation; that's just how we handle it."

The Bulldogs (8-2, 5-2) have other concerns that are just as pressing.

Richt also announced Sunday that starting right tackle Justin Anderson will definitely miss Saturday's game at Auburn with plantar fasciitis and that he's also questionable for the season-ender against Georgia Tech.

With Anderson out, the Bulldogs will look to either Josh Davis or Kiante Tripp to fill the void until the Ocilla native is able to return. Richt said that left guard Cordy Glenn would also be an option. Tanner Strickland can also expect to see more playing time.

"The only thing we're probably sure of right now is that Clint Boling will stay at left tackle for right now, and that Ben Jones (center) and Chris Davis (right guard) will probably stay where they are," Richt said. "But as far as right tackle, I just don't know what the answer to that is going to be. We're mulling over those very things right now."

NOTES: Saturday's game at [tm]Auburn[/tm] has been set for 12:30 p.m. and will be televised by Raycom. … Georgia moved up to No. 10 in the latest BCS standings, the highest of any two-loss team in the country. The Bulldogs moved up one spot to No. 13 in the AP Top 25 poll and jumped two spots to No. 12 in the USA Today/Coaches Top 25. … Backup fullback Justin Fields has a torn ACL and is expected to miss between six and eight weeks. He's scheduled to have surgery in the next 10-14 days… Richt said that
backup running back Caleb King did not take any snaps at tailback in the
Bulldogs' 42-38 win at Kentucky.

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