I've cut him some slack. It's time to tear him a new one.
21 17 7 10 41 14 14 38 49 38 13 45 24 37 41
Those are the opponents point totals from last season + three games into 2009 (h/t Mac). Dawg fans love to bark back to the days of Erk Russell and even Brian VanGorder. Only the lowest of those numbers listed above would have been commonplace under those regimes.
Today is a new era in Dawg defense.
Before I go any further, a word from the rational side of my brain: In Coach Mark Richt I trust. There is absolutely NO other coach in the business of tackle football I'd rather have at the helm of the Georgia football program. He is class personified. He has made winning in Athens an expectation once again.
Back on point...our defense on the other hand, is an embarrassment.
We're undisciplined. We're unable to dominate in the trenches. We can't cover a sleeping baby. Our bend breaks regularly. We give up yards. We give up points. We disgrace our forbears.
Those bolded numbers up there would've been aberrations in the old days. They're undoubtedly commonplace now. Hale stated yesterday that Erk and VanGorder aren't returning home to save us. My question is, why would we need them to?
We're the University of damn Georgia! We have the talent. Do we need the desire? We have the leadership. Do we lack the passion?
I have no doubt that Willie Martinez is a nice guy. There's no doubt in my mind that he works hard. When I call forth a mental image of him at work, I don't frame a picture of him with his feet propped up on the desk eating doughnuts and reading People magazine.
But what he is doing isn't working. There were Razorback catches made Saturday night where a white jersey wasn't anywhere close to being in the same area code. If DJ Williams is able to play more snaps (or any at all in the second quarter) we likely lose that game. He's one of the best TEs in the country and he was wide frickin' open on that misdirection rollout in the 3rd quarter.Then he wasn't blanketed at the goal line on 3rd down and caught the TD pass.
It's evidently impossible for the defense to produce turnovers. We don't tackle well. Our LBs can't defend the pass. Our DBs can't defend the pass. And our defensive line can't rush the guy who's throwing it. It's a recipe for disaster.
And yet, the defense is a large part of the reason we've won the last two weeks. Martinez's unit has done just enough to provide the margin necessary. But is what he's doing enough to carry the Dawgs to another level? Having been the DC during an SEC Championship season, the answer may seem like a yes. But the recent numbers above may beg to differ.
Martinez's method of operation is to react to what the offense is doing. I understand that today's offenses are not what they were in the late 70's. But we're still reacting in a league where championship defenses often dictate the play. In my estimation, Willie Martinez's philosophy requires adjustments to what the offense does. And yet he consistently fails to make those adjustments.
Sure. He mixes up zone with man. He blitzes LBs and the occasional DB. But his defense fails to dictate the play on the field. We're less Junkyard Dawg and more like a leashed, well vaccinated canine.
Sure. He is not a player on the field, but is he not accountable to some measure for their actions? On a larger scale, with the play we're seeing out of our defense...the day is past due when Coach Richt must be accountable for his coaches' actions.
I had high hopes for our defense this year. I really thought the stars were aligning for a great defensive season. So far I'm wrong. As Hamp reminded me yesterday, Arizona State provides an opportunity to get some things straight before a difficult October stretch.
Coach Willie - You are the Dawgs' DC this season. The next few games should determine whether you are beyond '09. So...if it's personnel, address it. If it's scheme, adjust. Passivity does not become us. Our lineage is the Dawg that is forgotten, desperately hungry, misused and maltreated...relegated to the junkyard.
Let's get back to our roots. And reverse the trend.