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Auburn football: Former Georgia assistant coach Willie Martinez leading candidate to replace Phillip Lolley on Tigers' staff

AUBURN, Ala. -- Former Georgia defensive coordinator Willie Martinez is the leading candidate to replace Phillip Lolley on Auburn’s staff, according to multiple media reports.

The Big Ten Network’s Tom Dienhart reported late Monday that a former Auburn staffer confirmed that Martinez-to-Auburn is a “done deal.”

According to a report from Al.com, Martinez was in Auburn on Monday to meet with the Tigers’ coaching staff, and he is the prohibitive favorite to get the job.

Martinez, who resigned as Oklahoma’s secondary coach when former Arizona head coach Mike Stoops was hired there, has been looking for a job since he left the Sooners last month.

When Martinez resigned at Oklahoma, Sooners coach Bob Stoops said the coach had “some attractive options and is going to pursue them.”

In two years at Oklahoma, the Sooners ranked eighth and 23rd in the country in pass-efficiency defense despite playing in the Big 12, which has produced some of the nation’s best passers and a Heisman Trophy winner in Baylor’s Robert Griffin III in those two seasons.

Martinez has a history of working with new Auburn defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder.

Martinez worked for VanGorder as the Bulldogs’ secondary coach from 2001-2004 before succeeding VanGorder as Georgia’s defensive coordinator in 2005, and they also worked together at Central Florida from 1995-96 and Central Michigan from 1998-99.

Martinez spent five seasons as the Bulldogs’ defensive coordinator. His defenses ranked sixth in 2006 and 14th nationally in total defense in 2007.

But his time in Athens ran short after his defenses took a turn for the worse. In Martinez’s final year as Georgia’s defensive coordinator, the Bulldogs were ranked 71st nationally in scoring defense and 90th in pass efficiency defense.

His ouster at Georgia led to Martinez taking the job at Oklahoma.

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