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Report: OU hires former Georgia assistant Willie Martinez

By Jake Trotter Modified: February 2, 2010 at 10:29 am •  Published: February 2, 2010

2005, the Bulldogs ranked eighth nationally in fewest points allowed. In 2006 and 2007, they also ranked in the Top 25.

But in 2008, after being ranked preseason No. 1, Georgia surrendered more than 40 points to rivals Alabama, Florida and Georgia Tech, and lost all three games.

And while the Bulldog defense improved late last season, they still were gashed in losses to Tennessee, Florida and Kentucky.

Yet despite losing the defensive coordinator’s job at Georgia, Martinez is still regarded as a strong secondary coach, developer of talent and convincing recruiter.

In the past five years, he had nine of his defensive backs get drafted by NFL teams, including Thomas Davis, who was a first-round pick of the Carolina Panthers in 2005.

"The defense struggled a lot the last two years and he got criticized for that,” said Tim Tucker, who covers Georgia football for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution newspaper. "But he stills has a reputation as a really good defensive backs coach and a really good recruiter.”

Martinez, who recruited South Florida for the Bulldogs, could also help OU make inroads into one of the Sunshine State’s fertile recruiting areas, where the Sooners have been shut out of since signing guard Davin Joseph (Hallandale, Fla.) and tight end Laenar Nixon (Miami) in 2002.

"He knows South Florida well,” Tucker said. "But even if the geography changes, he’s good at building those relationships with recruits.”