ATHENS, Ga. - Georgia assistant coach Stacy Searels has developed a slew of freshmen into productive offensive linemen, so what's some extra responsibility?
Searels will begin his third season with the Bulldogs with the added title of running-game coordinator. The former Trion High and Auburn lineman joined Georgia's staff in January 2007, several weeks after Mike Bobo became offensive coordinator and assumed play-calling duties from head coach Mark Richt.
"The way we work is not going to change, and Mike will continue to call the show," Searels said. "He does lean on me in the run game, and there have been times in games where he says, 'All right, Searels, what's going to work now?' So maybe I'll be taking a little more of the blame."
Georgia's ground game already had a new look for 2009 following the departure of All-America tailback Knowshon Moreno, who rushed for 2,734 yards the past two seasons, and the hiring of Bryan McClendon as running backs coach. Moreno became the first Bulldogs tailback other than Herschel Walker with consecutive 1,000-yard seasons, and he did so last year behind a line that used five starting tackles due to season-ending knee injuries.
Bobo said Searels essentially has been running-game coordinator since his arrival after four seasons at LSU.
"As a coordinator, you've got to lean heavily on your line coach to help you in certain situations, especially in the running game as far as what the line can and can't handle," Bobo said. "He's done an outstanding job of that, and it certainly doesn't bother me, because we're all in this together.
"Coach Searels and I always watch every part of the film together, whether it's how we're going to move the tight end, motion shifts, what sets up the running game, protection-wise or play-calling."
That planning takes place Sunday and Monday of each game week, but the two stay connected on Saturdays as well.
"We talk between every series," Searels said. "He talks to his quarterback and I'll talk to my offensive line, and we'll go down the list of plays, what's good and what's bad and what needs to be done differently."
Searels was a three-year starter at Auburn under Pat Dye and an All-American in 1987. When Auburn hired Gene Chizik to replace Tommy Tuberville in December, Dye became involved in the program and its potential to lure former players to Chizik's staff.
The Tigers landed defensive line coach Tracy Rocker from Ole Miss but couldn't sway Searels.
"Pat Dye has had more influence on my life than any man besides my dad," Searels said. "I have more respect for Coach Dye than any coach in the business, but working here at Georgia for Coach Richt and Mike Bobo and our whole staff makes it very easy for me to get up and go to work every day."
Bulldogs over Buckeyes
New signee Marlon Brown, the No. 5 receiver nationally according to Rivals.com, told a Memphis radio station (Fox Sports 730 AM) that he wound up picking the Bulldogs over Ohio State. He added that Tennessee was eliminated because of recruiting coordinator Ed Orgeron.
"Coach O came at me the wrong way and said a couple of things to me and my family, and it wasn't happening," Brown said.