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September 5, 2007

Martinez leads ambush of Oklahoma State


Willie Martinez
Defensive Coordinator
Georgia

Speed can be the greatest camouflage in college football.

That must be how Oklahoma State felt Saturday, with Georgia defenders seemingly sneaking out from between the hedges to ambush what was thought to be one of the nation's best offenses.

With eight first-time starters on defense Saturday, Bulldogs coordinator Willie Martinez anticipated mistakes here and there against Oklahoma State's balanced attack. He hoped speed would help mask the rough edges of his untested defense.

It did.

Martinez's defense held Oklahoma State to 14 points, 21 less than the Cowboys averaged last season. For his efforts in Georgia's 35-14 victory, Rivals.com named Martinez its National Coordinator of the Week.

"As good as Oklahoma State was on offense last year, it's a new season, and new stuff happens every year," Martinez said. "If we make up for mistakes with speed and run to the ball, we could have success. We were talking about that prior to the game."

Oklahoma State has some speed of its own, from a seemingly endless stockpile of athletes. Chief among those is receiver Adarius Bowman, who has a 300-yard receiving game in his past and big NFL paychecks in his future.

Georgia limited him to 65 receiving yards and one touchdown in the first half. He didn't touch the ball after halftime.

Martinez's plan was simple: Stop Bowman's distributor, and Georgia would stop Bowman.

For the most part, Martinez rushed only four linemen, who were rotated throughout the game. That freed the remainder of the defense to cover Bowman and tight end Brandon Pettigrew while containing quarterback Bobby Reid's running ability. The result was five sacks from five players and an interception.

"We felt they would run Bobby Reid," Martinez said. "He gives you that threat. We wanted to contain him. We needed to start there first and then try to stop Bowman and Pettigrew."

Limiting Reid shut down Oklahoma State's balance. The Cowboys were one of just two teams (Boise State was the other) that averaged at least 200 passing yards and 200 rushing yards per game last season. But Georgia stopped the Cowboys from reaching either landmark (196 passing yards and 70 rushing yards).

There"s little time for Martinez to gush over his defense's performance, though: Georgia plays host to Steve Spurrier's South Carolina team Saturday.

"The thing we tell our kids is that our game is over with," Martinez said. "The good thing is that we won, but can we do it again? Can we play at same speed? Can we get better and can we play more fundamentally sound?"

OTHER NOMINEES FOR COORDINATOR OF THE WEEK:

Steve Logan, Boston College
In his first game under Logan, senior quarterback Matt Ryan passed for a career-high 408 yards and threw five touchdown passes in a 38-28 victory over Wake Forest.


Jon Tenuta, Georgia Tech
True, Notre Dame's young offense was overmatched, but the Irish still failed to score a touchdown in a season opener for the first time since 1985. Tech held Notre Dame to 122 total yards, forced three turnovers and had nine sacks.


Rich Olson and Craig Bray, Arizona State
This nomination goes to both coordinators for a dominating effort in a 45-3 rout of San Jose State. The Sun Devils held the Spartans to 115 total yards.


Bo Pelini, LSU
It wasn't a bad way to start SEC play. LSU held Mississippi State to 146 total yards (including 10 rushing yards) and forced seven turnovers in a 45-0 victory.



Armanti Edwards
Quarterback
Appalachian State

A representative from one of college football's greatest upsets should at least get a mention for player of the week.

Safety Corey Lynch blocked the potential game-winning field goal. Receiver Dexter Jackson had 92 receiving yards and two touchdowns. But we're going to name Appalachian State quarterback Armanti Edwards as Rivals.com's national player of the week.

In the Mountaineers' 34-32 victory over Michigan in Ann Arbor, Edwards was 17-for-23 for 227 yards and three touchdowns. He also rushed for 62 yards and a touchdown.

"During the week we studied Michigan real hard and saw a lot of openings in their defense, and knew if we could execute we could have a good afternoon," Edwards said.

OTHER NOMINEES:

Marlon Lucky, Nebraska
So much for Sam Keller's debut. Lucky and the running game stole the show in Nebraska's 52-10 victory over Nevada. Lucky ran for 233 yards and three touchdowns and also had a touchdown reception. Nebraska finished with 413 rushing yards.


DeJuan Tribble, Boston College
Boston College defeated defending ACC champion Wake Forest behind three interceptions (two in the end zone) and seven tackles from Tribble.


Kevin Smith, UCF
Smith, a junior, rushed for a career-high 217 yards and set a school record with an 80-yard TD run in a 25-23 win at N.C. State. Behind two scores from Smith, the Knights won their first game against a BCS conference team in seven years.


Tashard Choice, Georgia Tech
The running back stepped out of Calvin Johnson's shadow to run for 196 yards and two touchdowns against Notre Dame.


Craig Steltz, LSU
The safety had three of LSU's six interceptions in a 45-0 win over Mississippi State on Thursday. He added a forced fumble and a tackle for a loss in the dominating victory.


Jake Locker
Quarterback
Washington

Washington quarterback Jake Locker may as well have kept his helmet and shoulder pads in a locker last season.

The Rivals100 quarterback didn't supplant incumbent starter Isaiah Stanback before the season. And by the time Stanback sustained a season-ending foot injury in the seventh game, there was little Washington could gain by burning the redshirt of its most prized recruit. By Friday, Washington found out Locker was worth the wait.

Washington is saddled with a brutal early season schedule, but Locker made sure the Huskies started off right. He was 14 of 19 for 142 yards and added 83 rushing yards and two touchdowns in a 42-12 victory at Syracuse to start the season.

The rest of Washington's September schedule: Boise State, Ohio State, UCLA and USC. While the rest of the month won't be as easy as the opener, at least the Huskies have found a leader at quarterback.

OTHER NOMINEES:

Cody Hawkins, Colorado
Colorado waited until Oct. 14 to get the first win of last season. Hawkins, a redshirt freshman who is the son of Buffs coach Dan Hawkins, made sure that wouldn't happen this season. He was 18-of-31 for 201 yards with two touchdowns and an interception in a 31-28 overtime victory over Colorado State.


Knowshon Moreno, Georgia
The thumb injury to Kregg Lumpkin doesn't seem so bad now. Moreno, a redshirt freshman, rushed for 70 yards and added 51 receiving yards against Oklahoma State.


DeMarco Murray, Oklahoma
Murray became the first freshman to score five touchdowns in his debut and rushed for 87 yards against North Texas. Redshirt freshman quarterback Sam Bradford was 21-of-23 for 363 yards and three touchdowns.


Harvey Unga, BYU
Unga, a redshirt freshman, stepped in for suspended starting running back Manase Tonga to account for 194 yards from scrimmage and two touchdowns in a 20-7 win over Arizona.



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