What should UGA fans make of the Stacy Searels situation?

Stacy Searels has drawn a lot of flak for his underperforming lines at UGA. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

Stacy Searels has drawn a lot of flak for his underperforming lines at UGA. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

l’m not seeing too many tears shed among Bulldog fans over the apparent impending departure of offensive line coach Stacy Searels for the same job at Texas.

Oh, sure, the timing could be better, coming just a couple of weeks before national signing day. And there’s the concern expressed by a few that Searels jumping ship is just one more sign that Mark Richt’s program is sinking fast.

But that latter view ignores the obvious fact that even if the Richt program wasn’t facing a likely do-or-die turning point next season, the Texas job would be somewhat better than a lateral move for Searels. Despite the Longhorns having suffered a losing season in 2010, that program mints money and is a choice spot for any coach. Of course, the chance of Searels being out of a job in Athens next year if Richt is fired adds to the attractiveness of a move to Austin at this point in his career.

It’s a little tougher to figure out why Mack Brown wants Searels. While his four years coaching the OL at LSU produced stellar results, his work at UGA has left most Dogs fans decidedly unimpressed. With injuries a major problem, Searels did get credit his first two seasons in Athens for cobbling together lines with three freshman starters as the Dogs finished with 11-2 and 10-3 records and Top 10 final rankings.

But the reportedly prickly Searels never seemed all that comfortable in Athens amid rumors he didn’t get along with offensive coordinator Mike Bobo and others, and Georgia folks never really warmed up to him, at least in part because of his refusal most of the time to talk to the media.

And as the Dogs’ fortunes began to sink over the 2009 and 2010 seasons, with OL play an obvious deficiency, the suspicion grew in the Bulldog Nation that having offensive stars like Matt Stafford, Knowshon Moreno and Mohamed Massaquoi made Searels’ 2007 and 2008 lines look better than they really were. The past two years Searels’ lines badly underperformed most of the time, despite having veteran players, and the running game that Searels had been named coordinator of in 2009 foundered.

Perhaps Texas has concluded the problem with the Dogs’ linemen getting pushed around by opponents really was Georgia’s infamous strength and conditioning program and that the LSU years more accurately reflect what Searels can do. Time will tell.

In the meantime, it will be interesting to see where Richt turns for a new OL coach. While an up-and-coming coach might jump at the chance to take over the OL job at Georgia, the tenuous nature of Richt’s own status in Athens might work against drawing an established heavy hitter. Let’s face it, anyone who takes the job is gambling.

Mac McWhorter recently announced his retirement at Texas. (University of Texas)

Mac McWhorter recently announced his retirement at Texas. (University of Texas)

The natural speculation has centered on a couple of former Georgia players with established credentials as offensive line coaches: Mac McWhorter and Hugh Nall.

McWhorter, ironically, is responsible for the opening at Texas, having just retired as the Longhorns’ OL coach amid a general staff house-cleaning that Brown has undertaken following a disappointing season just a year after playing in the national championship game. But since McWhorter’s “retirement” is only a little over a month old, he might be inclined to basically swap places with Searels.

If that’s the case, you could argue UGA would be getting the better end of the deal. While McWhorter was at UT, the offense ranked among the top 10 in total offense three times and in the top 30 seven times. It was also in the top six in scoring offense on five occasions and in the top 16 eight times. McWhorter also was named the 2008 Assistant Coach of the Year by the American Football Coaches Association.

If he were to take the job at Georgia, it would be his second go-round as the Dogs’ OL coach. He held that position, along with special teams coordinator and director of football operations, under Ray Goff. Interestingly, he also put in time at Georgia Tech under George O’Leary and ended up as the Jackets’ acting head coach for their bowl game after O’Leary left for his short-lived stint at Notre Dame.

As for Nall, he had a good run coaching the OL at Auburn under Tommy Tuberville but left coaching for an executive position in the trucking business after Tuberville was fired and reportedly is quite happy out of football. Giving up that gig for a potentially one-season stint in Athens might not seem like such a smart move.

Other names not associated with UGA are starting to surface, including former Vanderbilt head coach Robbie Caldwell, a veteran of offensive line work.

What do you think? Would you be happy with a Searels-for-McWhorter swap? Who else would you like to see Richt consider for the OL job?

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— Bill King, Junkyard Blawg

245 comments Add your comment

Daniel's Dawgs

January 20th, 2011
11:35 am

D A DoubleU G

January 20th, 2011
11:36 am

I am taking the attitude of:

“We didn’t impress with him, so I am excited to get some new blood and a different attitude in coaching at that position”.

I am excited to read about the new hire, or promotion.

GO DAWGS!!!!!

225 days til Kickoff!!!!

DawginLex

January 20th, 2011
11:38 am

Despite all the rumors about how this went down, I’m more inclined to believe the story posted on the other blog about how Richt and Searles actually get along great but Richt told him, now would be a good time to take the Texas job considering what is going on in Athens.

MichaelB

January 20th, 2011
11:46 am

I will help him pack! Our O line was either overrated or under coached the past 3 years.

Bryan G.

January 20th, 2011
11:49 am

Don’t let the door hit you on the way out, Coach.

82Dawg

January 20th, 2011
11:52 am

How do we know that CMR didn’t ask CSS to find another job??

innocent bystander

January 20th, 2011
11:53 am

Lots of theories about why the O-Line underperformed. I expected them to dominate in 2010 . I guess I was lulled into overconfidence by what King/Ealey did against Tech in 09 and the cumulative starts of all those upper classmen.. I was shocked to see them struggling against ULL even though we won that game handily. There was a lot of standing around in the Liberty Bowl as well. I don’t know whether more credit should go to Stafford/Moreno early on or more blame to Coach Searles of late. All in all at this point in our program I think change is good. Best of luck to SS in Austin. And I hope we get Robbie Caldwell.

Coachdawg 2000

January 20th, 2011
11:56 am

I thiunk that he just never fit in here. His official positionwas OL Coach and running game Coordinator. What caused us some games lack of sustained running game production and our o-line got whip on 99% of the snaps. Also ,while he wasn’t recruiting coordinator, we always seem to miss on our o-line recruits(perpetually poor depth).

VDawg

January 20th, 2011
11:56 am

And by the way – he got a hell of an increase to go Texas folks. TEXAS is paying coaches more than we are. Texas wants to make a statement more than we do.. Just gnaw on that a while Dawg faithful.

bobby

January 20th, 2011
11:59 am

i’m glad sears is gone he was a good coach but a poor recruiter. since he has been coach, o-lineman been leaving the state like forty going north and performing a high level at other schools. womack, carpterner, the two that went to alabama and a host of others. uga needs a o-line coach that can keep the o-line in state. iam sick and tried of seeing o-lineman from the state of georgia leave here and star at other sec schools the next o-line coach must keep the in state lineman in the state of georgia.

Dawg Fud

January 20th, 2011
11:59 am

Buh, bye Stacey.

WDE

January 20th, 2011
12:00 pm

Feel bad for you guys, this came at a horrible time and quite frankly, don’t expect OL play to suddenly turn around. Searels wasn’t the problem, or at the very least, THE problem. The whole program is tanking and quite frankly he made a brilliant career decision going to UT before the stuff hits the fan in Athens.

VDawg

January 20th, 2011
12:01 pm

well said WDE

Gary

January 20th, 2011
12:03 pm

McGarity could END all of the specualtion about Richt by doing a contract extension.

This is hurting recruiting, and it’s hurting Richt’s ability to retain coaches, and attract coaches.

If Richt’s your guy, extend his contract. If he’s not, fire him now. But none of this sit on the fence lukewarm garbage.

VDawg

January 20th, 2011
12:04 pm

wow – for some reason one of my comments hasn’t posted…..twice…….and nothing innapropriate……what gives Billy boy?

WDE

January 20th, 2011
12:04 pm

You won’t make a splash at all with your hire, which is what you critically need here before NSD with the obvious lack of athletes on the OLine. You’re going to get some guy that’s quickly on the rise from a mid-major or DII school that will have no problem being hired away when Richt gets canned.

The rest of the SEC has great coaches and next year there will be more turnover. Look for you guys to hire someone who could benefit from one year of exposure in the SEC before going to a more stable program with better OLinemen.

D A DoubleU G

January 20th, 2011
12:07 pm

I sense panic in the”WDE” nation, knowing your team will likely not even make a bowl next year, and things could be a lot better in Athens.

Hope you enjoyed your $180,000 season! (for now)

Ted Striker

January 20th, 2011
12:07 pm

Interesting stuff, Bill.

WDE

January 20th, 2011
12:08 pm

Last year, it was made VERY clear that UGA is not a destination for coaching talent. Yall had to go about 5 names down the list before landing a D-Coordinator. Things have only gotten worse and you will all be VERY disappointed with OLine play this year. You still have no running game, and no receivers anymore. It’ll be Aaron Murray vs. the world, bless his soul.

Crowell is not going to come in and be your “savior”. He’s smart enough to know that a running back can only play to his full potential with a supporting cast, which UGA lacks completely. And right now, that means he’ll land somewhere in the SEC West.

how2fish

January 20th, 2011
12:08 pm

Wish CSS the best never been a huge fan of his but hope he enjoys Austin.

D A DoubleU G

January 20th, 2011
12:08 pm

WDE,

who said Richt was being canned?? You must know something we don’t.

Oh, and welcome to the Dawg Blawg. I guess reality is setting in in Metro Opelika huh???

Johnson

January 20th, 2011
12:09 pm

Searels couldn’t run the ball at Georgia.

#71 in rushing in 06, 337, in 07′, #56 in 08′, #47 in 09′, and #73 in 10′.

The trend is run 1st to win the SEC over last 3 seasons, Florida got 225 a game in 08′, Bama got 215 a game in 09′, Auburn got 280 a game in 10. Searels is around 150 yards rushing a game.

He’s really below average in run offense.

Red-N-Black

January 20th, 2011
12:11 pm

Caldwell, the man never got enough credit for what he had to work with at Vandy.

Johnson

January 20th, 2011
12:12 pm

Phil Fulmer for O-Line coach anybody?

WDE

January 20th, 2011
12:12 pm

D A Double U G-

I know you guys have had A LOT of crappy food on your plate the past three years. Yall are some of the most uninformed fans in the country.

People think Auburn was a flash in the pan this year. Do you not remember our offense in 2009? We ranked only behind Florida in all major categories in the SEC. This coming off one of our worst offensive years in history. The only thing that kept us from doing it last year was our defense, which has improved significantly.

If you were smart, you’d look at the big picture of progression. As usual, you are just focused in/jealous/in awe of what Cam Newton did to yall. We did it with Chris Todd last year, and with an improved defense and even better offense, you’ll be seeing the Auburn you’re used to. You know, the one that has had 3 undefeated teams in the past 20 years.

What has Georgia done since 1980?

jesup

January 20th, 2011
12:12 pm

We need UCONN line coach……Google it..he has done more with less.

LakeDawg

January 20th, 2011
12:12 pm

Its hard to build an O-line when CMR won’t scrimmage and puts little time in on the run game. Searels was a good line coach before he got to UGA. What happened? The problem wasn’t with Searels.

Sandman053

January 20th, 2011
12:13 pm

WDE after Auburn went from 8-5 in 2009 to 13-0 this year with the addition of a stellar player (which no matter how anyone feels about Cecil and his antics, Cam was a heck of a ball player, wouldn’t you want to let the season turn a bit before making a blanket statement like you did at 12:04? Granted I’m a Dawg and I believe in Richt righting the ship,so I’m hoping the right recruits, a little luck, and some great fan support will get us to a decent season in 2011. C’mon September 3rd! o Dawgs!

Johnson

January 20th, 2011
12:13 pm

I was surprised Richt retained Searels this season after the lousy job he did.

WDE

January 20th, 2011
12:14 pm

You better hope CMR is canned this year. The rest of the SEC has proven they have the pelotas to make changes and adjust. UGA is the beacon of inflexibility, and your results and decline are reflecting that.

You’ll be in football purgatory until you make a change. Just being honest.

WDE

January 20th, 2011
12:15 pm

I’m not saying we’ll repeat and go 14-0 next year. But Georgia fans think just because of our short decline under TT at the end of his tenure that Auburn is a non-contender. It’s just foolish, we lead the series.

Georgia thinks just because they are the “University of..” school in their state that success is automatic. That is why yall have been so poor the past two years.

Sandman053

January 20th, 2011
12:16 pm

Again I point to four or six plays that changed our season from probably 10-3 to the dismal 6-7, so luck is part of it and coaching is another. I think the fire is back in Athens that was present in the first part of the decade. I wish Coach Searles the best of luck in Austin and I hope we get a good O-line coach to help fix the problems.

Red-N-Black

January 20th, 2011
12:16 pm

WDE

Funny how you Awbarn fans pipe up after one good year, and the most recent history tells us that we are 4-1 over the last five years so what were you saying again???

South Ga Dawg

January 20th, 2011
12:16 pm

Kick rocks CSS. Line has underachieved since he’s been here! Bring on some new blood and philosophy!!

ugab

January 20th, 2011
12:17 pm

HEAD COACH? Who does everyone want to coach at ga? MR is the man for the job.

WDE

January 20th, 2011
12:17 pm

Losers blame bad luck. Of course it takes luck, but in the SEC, luck is made on the practice field and in the weight room.

D A DoubleU G

January 20th, 2011
12:17 pm

Auburn goes 5-7 next year.

Panic On The Plains!!!!

Sandman053

January 20th, 2011
12:18 pm

WDE, I never thought AU was a flash in the pan and if i conveyed that thought I apologize. I appeciate the long and storied rivalry between our two schools and normally pull for you guys in the Iron Bowl.
With that being said, I think last year’s season showed what the addition of a couple of missing pieces on both sides of the ball would bring with the proper amount of luck coupled with good coaching.

D A DoubleU G

January 20th, 2011
12:18 pm

and seriously WDE,

give us a GOOD reason why you spend so much time on a UGA BLOG, based in a city in the State of Georgia???

It’s sad and pathetic.

DawgDog

January 20th, 2011
12:18 pm

Shhh… don’t trash Searels until Texas offers him the job & he accepts. Texas may read our totally justifiable trashing of him..

WDE

January 20th, 2011
12:19 pm

Red – n – black,

Splice it how you want. I was here this summer, the original WDE, telling you what was happening to your program. How2fish, RxDawg, and DawginLex should remember me.

Yall did beat us 4 times in a row. But the trajectories have changed, we’ve gone through the transitional period yall are about to, so I’d be a little reluctant if I were you to hang your hat on the Stafford/Moreno years. Those are long long gone.

Sandman053

January 20th, 2011
12:20 pm

@ DawgDog: I just wish we could throw in Bobo and a player/coach to be named later.

Sam

January 20th, 2011
12:20 pm

Funny how people never warmed up to Searels because he refused to talk to the media. I care far less about whether a coach talks to the media or not as long as he gets the job done; however, I suspect the media paints a less than glowing picture if a person does not talk to the media.

Gary

January 20th, 2011
12:20 pm

McGarity is pretty much throwing Richt under the bus, trying to force him to quit or work somewhere else. This is getting ugly.

1- hasn’t come out and endorsed Richt to help recuriting
2- Scheduled #7 ranked Boise instead of unranked Louisville
3- Kept Florida game in Florida, renewed the location agreement
4- refuses to extend Richt’s contract
5- watches as no 5 star recruits sign on
6- watches as coaches get hired away
7- watches as richt tries to turn around a 6-7 season where McGarity pretty much had left Richt as a lame duck coach to dry

WDE

January 20th, 2011
12:21 pm

I live in Atlanta, and Stacey Searels is a former player.

The major improvement was on defense, particularly second half defense.

I’m not going to blabber about how Newton and Fairley weren’t special playeres, they obviously were. But our offense was pretty dang good with a spaghetti-armed QB the year before.

Anyone that knows anything about football knows it was Auburn’s defensive improvement that put us in the BCS picture. Cam Newton was the secret sauce that made it a season for the ages.

Gary

January 20th, 2011
12:23 pm

Where in the world is Greg McGarity–on vacation?

Gary

January 20th, 2011
12:25 pm

McGarity is showing common sense.

Doesn’t he realize Richt can basically, return the no trust ball on McGarity by going 5-7, forcing McGarity to fire Richt and pay out millions?

Gary

January 20th, 2011
12:27 pm

Hopefully, Searels can take “Greg ‘Do nothing, sit on the fence’ McGarity with him to Texas.

Georgia needs a new AD. Now.

WDE

January 20th, 2011
12:30 pm

Well, McGarity can’t really do anything as the new AD. If Damon Evans hadn’t had his episode this year, I think we might be talking about a lot more than who your new OC will be this offseason.

WDE

January 20th, 2011
12:31 pm

Not only did the Damon Evans episode embarass your University, but it has put off rebuilding for at least a year… Probably more when you consider the lack of faith in your program. The recruits can smell it, its why that “Dream Team” CMR so desperately begged for is just that… “It was only just a dreeaaaaammmmm” hahaha http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3RTENBJD2Ok