Brian Van Gorder isn't the only former Georgia defensive coordinator on Auburn's staff. The Tigers have hired Willie Martinez as defensive backs coach. This hire should complete Gene Chizik's staff for the 2012 season. Willie Martinez will replace Phillip Lolley, who has moved into an administrative role with the football team after a couple of seasons of sub par secondary play.
Willie Martinez was the defensive backs coach at the Georgia when Van Gorder was the defensive coordinator from 2001 to '04. In his four seasons as DB coach UGA ranked 96th, 31st, sixth, and 16th in the country in pass defense.
When Van Gorder left UGA after the 2004 season, Martinez became the Bulldogs' defensive coordinator. He had strong defenses his first couple of years there but UGA fans were ready for him to leave in 2009. Martinez moved on to coach defensive backs at Oklahoma this past season.
According to the Oklahoma official bio for Martinez, over the past 10 years, 14 of Martinez's defensive backs have been selected in the NFL Draft. Martinez played his college ball at Miami and was a part of the 1983 national championship team. Martinez has been known as a strong recruiter who should still have ties in talent-rich Georgia.
Martinez will inherit a young but talented secondary next year. Sophomores Erique Florence, Jermaine Whitehead and Chris Davis were all thrown into the fire early and got valuable experience this past season. Joshua Holsey is a big time defensive back recruit who could see the field this year as well.