So Nebraska quarterback Taylor Martinez apparently got himself in trouble again today by comparing Georgia’s defense to a “typical Big Ten defense.” That being the Big Ten where seven defenses are ranked in the top 40 total defenses in the country.
Martinez, who called Georgia linebacker Jarvis Jones “just another guy” last week — a mindset that quarterbacks coach/graduate assistant Joe Ganz said Martinez must have — again compared the Bulldogs to a “typical Big Ten defense” Friday. Martinez means this as a compliment, understand, since he said last week that the Big Ten has the nation’s best defenses. But the junior presents it in a way that makes seem like bulletin board material.
“If we go out there and play, we’ll be perfectly fine,” Martinez said.
Martinez said Georgia’s defense reminds him of Michigan State. The Spartans are ranked 23 spots ahead of Georgia in total defense and seven spots ahead in scoring defense. And Michigan State played far better offenses throughout the year than the Bulldogs did.
So, yes, quite an insult, Martinez is paying Georgia, huh? Not at all. Nebraska fans attuned to pretending that Martinez didn’t save this team’s bacon repeatedly this year would prefer to think NU faced nothing but bummy defenses all year, but it’s not the case. The Huskers’ offense faced a number of quite good defenses. A season full of statistics says so. And Georgia will be another — but merely another. The Bulldogs are not Alabama or Notre Dame, and don’t be bamboozled into thinking as much.
Georgia may have more talent than any defense in the country, but injuries, suspensions and occasional poor execution have kept it from fulfilling its potential. Georgia played the 84, 87, 96, 97, 102, 113 and 115th total offenses in the country this year. It gave up 44 and 32 points to the two best offenses — Tennessee and Alabama — it played in 2012. You can’t sugarcoat it.
That doesn’t mean the Bulldogs won’t give Martinez a hard time. They could and might. But when Martinez make a reasonable comparison — however inelegantly he might make it — the reason of it is not diminished the style in which it’s said. Or at least it shouldn’t.
And there’s the familiar refrain of “well, you know what he really meant.” Yes, I do. With Martinez, strange but true, it’s simply, actually what he says. He saves the guile for his big runs. Martinez thinks Georgia is like a typical a Big Ten defense, many of which are good. And maybe even more like Michigan State, which is really good. Swap Aaron Murray and Andrew Maxwell at quarterback and tell me: Which team wins 11 games?