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Be Careful What You Wish For: The Curious Case of Willie Martinez

As Kyle noted last night, the University of Miami is now officially in the market for a new Defensive Coordinator, thanks to the defection of Bill Young to Oklahoma State. This naturally has fueled speculation that Willie Martinez could be one of the candidates to replace Young.

Mark Richt, for what it's worth, has said that no one from Miami has contacted him about Martinez. Miami Head Coach Randy Shannon has hinted that if the right guy's not out there he may just coordinate the defense himself. Before we get too wrapped up in this thing let's remember, given the above, it is no sure thing that Willie Martinez is going anywhere.

But one way or another, this is a situation fraught with peril. Why, you ask? How can I not be dancing on the ceiling at the mere possibility? I have my reasons:

  • Mark Richt will not let Willie Martinez leave easily. I know, they're both Miami guys, and everybody wants to coach at his alma mater. But Mark Richt has gone to bat to get his assistants cash before. If Willie wants more money (and who doesn't?) he likely will get it. The end result is that we pay more money for the same results. Martinez may also ask for a contract extension. One sore subject with Georgia assistants has been the Athletic Department's refusal to grant them multiyear contracts. I could see Martinez asking for one as an insurance policy. This could also be a bad deal long term, especially if the defense underperforms in '09.
  • We already have his replacement. Color me apprehensive. If Martinez leaves, we really have no choice but to replace him with Rodney Garner. Any other course of action means we lose both of them. While Coach Garner has molded a lot of great defensive linemen, he's totally unproven as a coordinator. And if he were to prove himself as a coordinator, he would become as even hotter commodity than he is now, making it harder to keep him long term. If you think position coaches who can recruit are hard to hold onto, imagine the change you have to shell out to keep a coordinator with that particular accumen.
  • There's never a good time to lose a coordinator. But two weeks before National Signing Day is worse than most other options. Especially when he's also your defensive backs coach and you're in a heated battle for one of the top defensive backs in the country. I don't get the sense that our recruiting class implodes if we lose Martinez, but there's always that chance.

So, while change is constant, and often for the better, in this instance it could also be a bit of a headache. Are you unconvinced?  Still want Willie Two Thumbs on the first train out of Athens? Let me hear from you in the comments section. Until later . . .

Go 'Dawgs!!!