Those of us that sat in the Georgia Dome to watch the ill-fated 38-35 loss to West Virginia in the Sugar Bowl questioned whether the Georgia defensive staff was up to the challenge of gameplanning to stop the spread option offense. We weren’t used to seeing a Dawg defense get shredded to the tune of 502 yards – especially by a Big East school.
Martinez went through a period of being compared with his predecessor’s success, and it wasn’t pretty. But judging by the tone of this article in today’s Washington Post (h/t Bulldogs Blog), it looks like he’s gained some measure of redemption.
It made sense at the time. Preparing to face the No. 1 scoring offense in the nation in a BCS bowl on New Year’s Day, the Georgia coaching staff figured it would be wise to employ more speed than bulk. Relying on nickel packages that utilized one more cornerback and one less linebacker, the Bulldogs’ defense throttled Hawaii, 41-10, in the Sugar Bowl and provided an example of how to slow down the vaunted spread offense.
While the writer defines the term “spread” a little too broadly – Arizona State and Kentucky frequently employ one back sets with three and four receivers, but they don’t run spread option schemes – there’s a lot of good stuff in there from the players and Martinez about what they try to do with the 4-2-5 scheme that has become a mainstay of Georgia’s defense.