Quick Hitters - Willie Martinez

Willie Martinez explains the "gunner" position in Georgia's punt protection.

With one punishing blow to Alabama's Shaud Williams, Kenny Bailey brought the Sanford Stadium faithful to their feet. Williams was trying to return a punt two weeks ago, but was not allowed to because of Bailey's coverage.

But Bailey's coverage was too good.

"He was there too early on that play," said Secondary coach Willie Martinez, who also coaches what's known as the "gunners". They are the players on punt coverage that are split out wide and are expected to make the first impact for the punt coverage team.

"In our punt protection our gunners have to make plays for us. If they can not make plays for us by tackling then they have to make sure that the ball goes east or west. You don't want it coming down the middle of the field. That is part of this assignment," Martinez said.

According to Martinez, Bailey's play was both good and bad.

"There is a grey area to that as a coach you don't want to give a great returner a chance," he said. "You want to time in up and get into a good football position a couple of yards away from the returner and try to make a play."

"There is no doubt about it that is a challenging position. You are spread out wide and (our protection) is going to be successful biased on what those guys do," he said.

As for Bailey, Martinez says that the senior is improving in all areas including the gunner position.

"Kenny has been playing better and should be. He is a senior and this is his last year. He has been doing a lot better job preparing himself in practice."


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