Tennessee DB coach suspended for secondary recruiting violation

Tennesee was without its defensive backs coach on Saturday.

Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

Tennessee suspended its defensive backs coach Willie Martinez for the season opener against Bowling Green after an alleged secondary NCAA recruiting violation.

The school issued the following statement on the decision to suspend Martinez:

Martinez is not permitted to be an active participant of the coaching staff today and will not be at Nissan Stadium.

The athletics department worked with the NCAA while this matter was being reviewed. The violation was a result of impermissible contact that occurred during the spring evaluation period in 2014. Our coaches are aware this is a new point of emphasis relative to recruiting parameters and we concurred with the NCAA's classification as a secondary violation.

Willie Martinez cooperated fully throughout the process and he will continue to be an integral member of our football staff and resume his coaching duties on Sunday morning.

With Martinez missed the game against Bowling Green. Defensive quality control coach Stephen Smith was assigned Martinez’s coaching duties for the opener. 

The Volunteers’ defensive backfield has already lost two projected starters – senior safety LaDarrell McNeil and sophomore corner Rashaan Gaulden – to season-ending injuries in fall camp and face a Bowling Green offense returning 10 offensive starters from 2014. Now without their position coach out for the game, how the Vols’ secondary plays could be something to watch. 

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