Free Willie?

The rhetoric has abated some today, but I do have to ask: Where are all the people that signed this petition? I think the petition itself is rather crazy, but at least people are willing to put their names on it.  I wonder if those same people will sign a ‘Make Willie Martinez the Pope’ petition if the Dawgs lead the SEC in D next year?  Oh, wait.  That isn’t what fans do.

I remain concerned about firing any coordinator immediately before signing day.  For those of you who think it doesn’t matter, there is a starting lineup of players that switched commitments because they were interested in playing for ‘that guy.’  I asked the question yesterday, who could we get?  A couple of people have taken the time to answer that, but in my mind, it in all likelihood it will come down to Rodney Garner.  In my mind, that is a push (especially losing him as recruiting coordinator), but who knows.

Either way, I agree with Bernie:  Unless Miami (Florida) can give him money that only Tennessee and Oklahoma want to pay, Willie Martinez will be on the sidelines in Athens next year.  Hell, even if they do offer that money, he is still likely to stay.  The thing that convinces me is this:  Randy Shannon has already indicated a willingness to dabble in his team’s defense (being a former D coordinator and all).  While I firmly believe Mark Richt will still hold all members of the coaching staff to his statement at the end of the season about accountability and improvement, that doesn’t mean he will impose his will on his coordinators.  It just is not his style.  Randy Shannon has shown he isn’t that interested in listening to his offensive coordinator.  What will he be willing to listen to from a defensive coordinator?  Of course, firing Patrick Nix is actually a smart move in my book, so there is that.

I have been wrong about a lot more than 10 things in my life, I don’t think I am about this one.


11 Responses to “Free Willie?”

  1. 1 oshea2002
    January 22, 2009 at 11:28 am

    Certain coordinator jobs are less desirable b/c of who the head coach is, regardless of the program. I’d imagine Miami is like that. For as great of jobs as USC and Bama are, they are terrible jobs for a DC who wants to truly run that side of the ball. Let’s be honest, those defenses will always be Carroll and Saban’s D’s, and the DC is really just a mouthpiece.

  2. 2 bulldoginexile
    January 22, 2009 at 11:39 am

    I pondered that very question with Kevin Steele leaving ‘Bama for Clemson this year. That is the only answer I could come up with.

  3. 3 cousinwalter
    January 22, 2009 at 1:56 pm

    If Randy Shannon keeps triping over his own feet, we can have him as our DC.

    I don’t think letting Willie Martinez go is a good idea simply because we have no plan B other than letting Rodney Garner call the shots. Garner, while he is in a class by himself as a recruiter, is unproven as a defensive play caller.

    Why couldn’t Georgia hire Kevin Steele or any of the others that are now off the market? We are too late.

    That being said, I agree with Oshea. I don’t think Shannon would allow Martinez to do his job when or if things started to go bad down in Coral Gables. How much longer do you really think Shannon is going to have a job at Miami anyway?

  4. 4 oshea2002
    January 22, 2009 at 5:43 pm

    The same thing will happen at Tennessee, just on the offensive side of the ball. Kiffin has been a bit more forthcoming though that it’s his O.

    As you’ve mentioned, the timing makes no sense for Martinez to leave. 1) Shannon has to be on the hotseat, and if he panics, he’ll want to do things his way on D. 2) He’s on the hotseat. No one wants to go take a job for a coach on the outs unless they’re in line for the job.

    The pickings are too slim at DC right now to make a change now for Georgia. I’ve heard Brian Stewart (the fired Cowboys DC) tossed around at UCLA and Michigan, but that’s about it.

  5. January 22, 2009 at 9:38 pm

    Yeh, when you look at the coaching changes at the assistant positions the last few weeks in the SEC, it is quite puzzling and entertaining. In Columbia, Tuscaloosa, Knoxville, Auburn, Columbia again… Defections, turncoats and back stabbers. It’s enough to make a Dawg fan smile to think of the ol’ ball coach worried about answering the phone every time it rings, for fear another staffer is a goner.

    We’re lucky to have had no changes. Change is good in some cases… ‘Tween the Hedges, stability is better.

  6. 6 cousinwalter
    January 23, 2009 at 7:20 pm

    stability is a nice aspect of the Richt era in Georgia Football. It has certainly proven to be beneficial in Athens compared with other places frequent coaching changes. However, we are pretty much stuck with Willie Martinez and/or Rodney Garner. WM leaves, CMR has no choice but to promote Garner to DC in effort to keep him as Recruiting Coordinator. Georgia needs Garner more than Garner needs Georgia. Its a good thing he likes living in Athens and working with Coach Richt and the staff.

    Is Georgia considered cheap as far as coaches salaries go?

  7. 7 bulldoginexile
    January 23, 2009 at 8:15 pm

    Well, not by traditional standards (some of that is out the window with what has happened at Tenn and Auburn this year). The biggest point of contention for the assistants has been Georgia’s refusal to do multi-year contracts. That is the holy grail, since you know what you are getting next year (and can negotiate that higher if you get courted) and the school is on the hook for the remaining contract if they were to be fired. In Richt’s tenure, however, there is the argument that no assistant has been ‘fired.’
    Many schools are now giving assistants, particularly coordinators, three year deals. Of course, that is creating some crazy titles like ‘run game coordinator’ and ‘coordinator of benched QBs’ (at South Carolina, for example).
    On other thing you mentioned is that Georgia needs Garner more than Garner needs Georgia. I couldn’t agree more. However, I don’t mean to imply Garner would be less of a DC than Martinez. I think he would be as good or better, especially considering he is lineman oriented and our D starts and ends with front run contain and rush end pressure. The problem is he will be forced to step back from recruiting, something that would potentially hurt.

  8. 8 cousinwalter
    January 24, 2009 at 9:56 am

    I am not sure if you meant to imply Garner would be less of a DC, however, I AM concerned that he would not be. Being an offensive or defensive play caller is much more complicated than being a position coach. Its easy to sit up in the booth and radio down to Coach Richt or Garner who are on the field that our tackle is isn’t handling the blitz from the Will Linebacker. Its quite another thing to actually make a decision on how to deal with that and make that decision in an instant. I think a lot of us take that for granted(myself included).

    Garner seems to be a smart guy so I think he could probably get it done if need be. However during the Auburn interview process, I was listening to David Pollack(yes its true Pollack has a radio show now) and Mike Bell on 790thezone in Atlanta and Pollack’s concern was that “He is not an Xs and Os guy.”

    Thing about Mark Richt and his entire tenure at Georgia is that its has never been about individual achievement, winning isn’t always the prettiest, and offensive and defensive play calling isn’t always an incredible domination like say at FSU in the 90’s or Miami in the 80’s and early 90s. The bottom line during Richt’s tenure at Georgia is that is has been about one thing: just get the job done or he famously has always said, “Finish the Drill.”.

    Somehow or some way things seem to always work themselves out the past 8 seasons. I am confident that the “problem” or whatever we are calling concerning Coach Martinez and Coach Garner. Stability and the lack of snap decisions(coaching changes or anything at all) that have come back to bite other SEC programs have been the key to Georgia’s steady success the past 8 seasons.

    As far as coach’s salaries are concerned, I just don’t want us to be left behind.

  9. 9 bulldoginexile
    January 24, 2009 at 11:55 am

    I agree. Being left behind isn’t an option. UGA has been one of the more successful athletic programs on all levels, including money. I think you’ll see some readjustment college football wide in the next year. The real indicator will be how much Damon is willing to spend on a basketball coach. If he digs deep to get his guy, the question about the assistant football coaches will be answered, as it is a good indication that he is willing to do what is necessary for the right people.

  10. 10 cousinwalter
    January 25, 2009 at 12:49 pm

    If they really wanted to toss Willie Martinez they would have done it earlier like right after the Tech game. Clemson goes and hires Bama’s Kevin Steele without a fight from Saban. If Clemson can hire someone like that why not us? Last year Nick Saban hiring Jim Mclevain from Fresno was pretty smooth but pretty brash and could have been seen as risky at the same time. Coach Richt, Evans, and Dooley have never made snap decisions in the past 8 years but what if a risky snap decision has to be made? Bobby Bowden keeping his son Jeff Bowden as offensive Coordinator in place of Coach Richt really hurt them. In fact, The Gators should send Coach Bowden a Christmas card for that sole coaching decision. What if Martinez leaves and Georgia just goes with Garner? I have more faith in Garner than FSU had in Jeff Bowden but its a legitimate concern.

    I was listening to some radio show in Atlanta and the topic was “Who of all the local teams Braves, Falcons, Hawks, Thrashers, Jackets, Dawgs, had the safest job?” Georgia Basketball coach Dennis Felton beat out Bobby Cox by a landslide!(this talk show topic occurred in November) I think most Georgia fans consider Basketball season something to kill time until football comes back.
    I think anytime something good happens it feels like luck and it never feels like it was supposed to happen where as in Football and in baseball too, people expect the Dawgs to be successful so when things go bad people are naturally upset. How many people do you know or upset or “livid” about the Georgia basketball situation. Its almost like they say “Well they suck but when does spring practice start?”

    Even going as far back as 1990 when Literral(spelling might be off) Green and The Dawgs beat LSU and Chris Jackson for the SEC title. Even then it had kind of a worst to first feel to it like the Braves in 1991 like it was miracle that probably would not happen again.

    I am not sure how true that is but I believe that Michael Adams, Evans, Dooley, and the board believe that to be true to a certain extent. I think there may be this belief that as long as the basketball program doesn’t look like it did during the Jim Harrick era they are fine with it. More importantly- Who would they go after for the new basketball coach?

    Georgia Baseball used to be kind of like that but as a student Baseball was always the easiest to go to- hanging out drinking with 1500 of your friends on Kudzu Hill not even caring if the team was good or not- that was living. People are even willing to come up from Atlanta to watch especially since a lot of the kids come from Cobb County- Lassiter and other schools(East Cobb Baseball specifically). It seems that every other sport is easier to go to as a student than basketball. The Gym Dogs sell more tickets than basketball. However since I left school I have paid more attention to basketball than I did when I was in school

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A Georgia Dawg in the Mid-West alone with his thoughts.

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