If one thing has been stressed by Georgia coaches, players and even the media, it is that the key to the Bulldogs success in the Capital One Bowl starts with stopping (or least slowing down) the electrifying QB of the Nebraska Cornhuskers, Taylor Martinez.
“Martinez is an explosive guy,” Georgia LB Jarvis Jones said during a recent practice in Orlando. “He can take it to the distance on any play. He’s a very mobile quarterback. I think he does it great. If we let him outside the pocket he can really hurt us. I think we have to keep contain and keep pressure on him.”
Martinez was tenth in the Big Ten in rushing this year, carrying the ball for 973 yards and averaging 75 rushing yards per game. He was also third in the Big Ten in passing yards this season, throwing the ball for 2667 yards and averaging 205 yards per game passing.
“I think any time you have a guy who’s a dual threat, obviously it opens up an extra gap that you have to defend, so at times guys have to be able to get off blocks and compress things in the run game,” said Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham.
Grantham knows that stopping Martinez will not be an easy task and has been scheming and preparing for that challenge for over a month.
“In the throwing game, whenever you rush four guys, there is actually six rush lanes you have to fill with four guys, so it’s critical you collapse the pocket outside of the end and compress it, not only to keep him bottled but maybe affect his vision too throwing down the field because, you know, disrupting the quarterback is as critical as sacking him, and those are some things that I think you have to do against a guy that can run it and throw it kind of like we’re getting ready to face.”
Georgia DE Garrison Smith is one of the defensive players charged with stopping Martinez and knows that discipline is the key to doing that.
“You know, he’s a great athlete and a great quarterback, he’s a heck of a player,” Smith said during the same press conference. “We’ve been preparing for him, and it’s just going to be hard to contain him. Everybody is just going to have to give our all and give hundred percent, give our best to get after them, which is hard when you are playing such a great player like him.”