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Saturday, December 20, 2008

Saturday Practice Notes (12/20)

When it comes to the details of offensive line coach Stacy Searels' interview with Auburn, Georgia coach Mark Richt isn't offering many details. One message he made clear, however, was that he doesn't want Searels going anywhere.

"The bottom line is we, of course, want Stacy to stay," Richt said. "He's an outstanding coach, and outstanding person, a guy that, he was my No. 1 pick. You don't usually get your No. 1 pick when you search, and we just happened to get him, and he's still our No. 1 pick."

Richt said he would have discussions with athletics director Damon Evans about what could be done to retain Searels, who has been at Georgia for two years. Searels was an All-American offensive lineman at Auburn in the 1980s.

Richt said he did not know a timetable for when a decision on Searels' future would be made, and he wouldn't speculate as to whether his coach would be on the sideline for Georgia's bowl game against Michigan State.

"I think we'll cross that bridge if it happens," Richt said. "It's hard to make a comment on something you just don't know what's going to happen."

Searels has held the position of offensive line coach at four schools since 1994, but Richt said he was not sure whether Auburn was considering Searels for a coordinator position or a lateral move.

Regardless, Richt said the title isn't likely to be Searels' only consideration.

"When I was at Florida State, I coached quarterbacks there for a good, long while," Richt said. "I turned down multiple offensive coordinator positions because I just didn t think it was the right fit. Then when I was coordinator, there was some head jobs I just wasn t interested in. To me, the quality of life for myself and my family was really, really big, and I was at a great place and wasn t in a hurry to disrupt that for a title or X amount of dollars. I had to weigh everything. I think a lot of times people will say for a title he should go or for X amount of dollars, he should go, but I ve never looked at it that way.

"We can only do what we can do to let him know we want him, and then he's got to decide from there."

-- After the loss to Georgia Tech to close out the regular season, Richt suggested he might open up the battle for kickoff duties for the bowl game. Freshman kicker Blair Walsh had struggled, booting several out of bounds.

As it turns out, there won't be any change, and the decision wasn't a tough one, Richt said.
"It's going to be Blair," he said. "At this point, he's just ahead. We chart every kick, and it's pretty cut and dry."

Fans shouldn't expect any drastic improvement, however, particularly when it comes to kicking deep, rather than directionally.

"What people don't understand is, if we felt like Blair or whoever was kicking off for us could kick it out of the end zone, we would never keep him from doing that," Richt said. "That would be ideal."

-- Defensive tackle Kade Weston has spent the entire season battling a knee injury that required surgery just days before Georgia's opener. The knee is still sore, so Richt held the junior out of practice Saturday, but said he will be ready to play against Michigan State.

"His knee has been a little bit sore from earlier injuries," Richt said. "We just sat him down and let it cool down. We'll give him a full week, and he should be fine and ready to go."

-- Richt said grades for a few seniors were still trickling in, but to date, he did not anticipate anyone being academically ineligible for the bowl game. Final results will be in no later than Monday.

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