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Richt avoiding changes to defensive coaching staff
Tennessee’s Gerald Jones (4) scores a touchdown as he’s defended by Georgia’s Prince Miller (23) during the second half of the game last Saturday in Knoxville, Tenn. The Volunteers won 45-19. - photo by By Wade Payne

Georgia at Vanderbilt

When: 12:21 p.m. Saturday

Where: Nashville, Tenn.

TV, radio: Peachtree TV; 103.7-FM, 106.1-FM

Web site:

ATHENS Georgia coach Mark Richt insists his longtime friendship with Willie Martinez hasn’t clouded his ability to assess the job performance of the Bulldogs’ embattled defensive coordinator.

Last week’s 45-19 loss at Tennessee marked the eighth time in 15 games that Georgia has allowed 37 or more points, but Richt has no immediate plans to demote Martinez.

"If you coach, you’re going to get criticized," Richt told The Associated Press on Tuesday. "You’re going to get criticized when you win. You’re going to get criticized when you lose.

"So whether a guy is your friend or not, they have taken on a certain responsibility where they know that they’re going to be in a situation where they know they can be criticized and they know they’ve got to do their job regardless of who the boss is."

Entering this weekend’s game at Vanderbilt, the Bulldogs rank last in the Southeastern Conference and 100th nationally in allowing an average of 30.7 points. Georgia is second-worst in SEC total defense and 75th nationally with 377.2 average yards allowed, but Richt blames the entire team for falling to 3-3 overall for the first time since he became head coach in 2001. The offense is no better, averaging 324 yards to rank second-worst in the SEC and No. 97 in the nation. Against Tennessee, the Bulldogs’ only touchdowns came on an interception return and a kickoff return, and they never had a red-zone possession.

"We are very concerned about how this season has gone," Richt said in his weekly news conference, "and we are battling as hard as you can possibly battle to get things moving in the right direction this year."

Georgia (3-3, 2-2 SEC) will visit Vanderbilt (2-4, 0-3) with a two-game losing streak for the first time since Oct. 28-Nov. 4, 2006, when the Bulldogs dropped two straight to Florida and Kentucky.

"As far as the program, we have a very strong program, finishing in the coaches’ poll No. 10 last year and No. 2 in The AP the year before and six out of seven years in the top 10, that’s not bad," Richt said. "That’s the past. I understand that. But when you start talking about a program I think you have to start looking at where we’ve been in the recent history here."

"The other thing is the season is not over. It’s just not over."

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