‘SEC on the West;’ Demetrice Martin breaks down choosing Ducks, getting settled at Oregon

Oregon Ducks cornerbacks’ coach Demetrice Martin is well established on the west coast. He has made stops with USC, UCLA, Washington, Arizona, and Colorado, and is now setting up shop in Eugene to coach alongside Dan Lanning and Tosh Lupoi, looking to get the Ducks back into the College Football Playoff.

On Tuesday afternoon, media members got to meet with Martin for the first time this spring, where he discussed his ultimate decision to come to Eugene, calling it “the SEC on the west” and lauding the college town experience that it offers. On top of that, Martin also detailed the personnel they have in the secondary, and what it has been like getting settled in Oregon. Here are some of the best quotes from that interview:

Why Oregon?

On why he chose to accept a job with the Oregon Ducks:

“Just the opportunity to come here. As we said, we kind of think of this as the SEC on the west. This is my sixth year in the Pac-12, I’ve always wanted the opportunity to get here and coach. The opportunity came and I took it and ran with it.”

Growth as a coach

On how he’s grown the most as a coach over the years:

Being able to learn from everywhere, from everyone. I’ve been around a lot of good coaches offensively and defensively. Throughout my younger years, I just worried about myself. Getting older, take a little bit from everybody, what they do, and add it to my game. Just like the players do, coaches do the same.”

Christian Gonzalez addition

On how transfer Christian Gonzalez (Colorado) has helped the defense:

“It’s big time. He’s able to be a big brother to the rest of the guys on the squad. As far as its good cop, bad cop. He can be the good cop and I’m the bad cop. He’s been with me for two years. He knows my moves, how I go, my moods, how I teach, and he can incorporate that with the other guys.”

Simulated pressures

On how the defensive backs can contribute to tackling through simulated pressures:

“It’s very important for a corner to be able to tackle. he has a knack for diagnosing plays that are happening behind the ball. In a lot of those plays, [Christian Gonzalez’s] tackles for loss were no pressure. he was an up defender and he had an opportunity to pull the trigger and he did.”

Jahlil Florence addition

On how early enrollee Jahlil Florence has fit in so far:

“He’s doing good. He’s definitely going to help us. He’s strengthening the depth definitely. Just trying to get a little bit more out of him, catching him up mentally and technically. He’s a little bit behind as he should be, he should be getting ready to go to his prom pretty soon. He’s here, he’s working, he’s going to be right by fall camp.”

Trikweze Bridges versatility

On Trikweze Bridges playing both CB and S so far:

“He started off in the corner room when we first started, but all his reps have been at safety. I haven’t really had my hands on him yet and evaluated him at the corner, but I am sure after we get a little base down in defense, he’s secure at the safety spot, we’ll have him cross-training out on the edge.”

Cornerbacks’ identity

On what he wants his cornerbacks to be known for:

“Obviously toughness first and foremost. Guys that can tackle, guys that can cover. If you can’t cover you’re probably not going to play that position in the first place. I love for my guys to be known for toughness, tenacity, short memories, and being able to go out there and get after it.”

Position versatility

On the flexibility that position versatility allows him as a coach:

“Exactly what you want. Guys are able to plug and play anywhere. As of right now because of the new terminology, new scheme, and new technique, guys are slowly learning the field and boundary corner right now. Then we will progress into guys playing the star position or field or boundary safety.”

Bennett Williams presence

On the value that Bennett Williams gives the defense:

“One of the first things that start off is his communication skills. His FBI shows up a lot because he’s really communitive out there on the field. He’s a comfort for the younger guys by reassuring them what cover and technique they are in. That’s always a blessing when you have your safety out there barking at you.”

Thoughts on Oregon

On how he viewed Oregon before coming to Eugene, and now after:

“Coming here, I played here a lot as an opponent, so you love the atmosphere, the stadium, how rowdy the crowd gets, and all that kind of stuff. you love that. To be able to be part of it is great. This is a college town, awesome. I went to a college town school when I went to college. Coming here I kind of reenacting that kind of thing, it’s awesome.”

Dan Lanning and Tosh Lupoi

On coaching with Dan Lanning and Tosh Lupoi:

“Awesome. it’s like trying to get your master’s, getting your doctorate. It’s awesome to be around young guys that are energetic, very smart, know what they want, know how to get it done, and know where all the snakes are within a scheme. Knowing all that, it’s very comfortable”

RELATED | To Ph.D. in Defense: Coach Demetrice Martin describes working with Dan Lanning, Tosh Lupoi

Kenny Dillingham’s offense

On having to defend Kenny Dillingham’s offense:

“He’s very innovative. He’s able to put his chess pieces in play and get his big pieces the ball when he needs to. Moving guys around and creating matchup issues, that’s really his high point which is great.”

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