Martinez, Jancek Return to Sanford Stadium

ATHENS - Wednesday marks one year since the tragic death of former Georgia cornerback Paul Oliver.

Oliver’s position coach at Georgia, Willie Martinez, will return to Athens for Saturday’s game against Tennessee as the Volunteers’ defensive backs coach.

Georgia coach Mark Richt said this offseason that Martinez “wrote in his own words what he wanted to say in his behalf,” for Oliver’s funeral and Richt read them because Martinez could not attend.

Oliver, who died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, had retired as an NFL player after spending most his career with the San Diego Chargers.

Martinez and Tennessee defensive coordinator John Jancek will be first former Georgia assistant coaches who spent considerable time under Richt to return to Sanford Stadium coaching an opposing team in his 14 seasons.  

“There’s some familiarity but it’s been a while since they’ve been here,” offensive coordinator Mike Bobo said. “You’re playing football. You’re going to hug their neck and tell them you love them but you’re going to try to beat Tennessee and what they do and not necessarily Willie and John.”

Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart, who spent a season as running backs coach with the Bulldogs in 2005, coached against Georgia in Athens in 2008.

Martinez coached with the Bulldogs from 2001-09, the last five as defensive coordinator. Jancek was on staff from 2005-09. Both were dismissed after a 7-5 record in their last seasons.

“They’ve got a good feel for what I like to do having gone against me in practice, but the same thing here,” Bobo said. “You don’t try to overthink it too much.”

Georgia played against Martinez and Jancek, a former Bulldogs linebackers coach, last year at Tennessee and former defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder and Martinez in 2012 at Auburn and former defensive line coach Rodney Garner last season also at Auburn.

Martinez declined an interview request through a Tennessee spokesman.

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