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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Q &A: Stacey Searels

The offensive line and the running game were two of the most disappointing units on the Georgia football team the first half of this season. That led Stacey Searels, the O-Line coach and running game coordinator, to do a bit of tinkering on a unit that was supposed to be the team's most stable.

So far it's worked, as the pass protection and run blocking have both improved. After Tuesday's practice Searels answered a few questions about the state of the line:

SE: A couple weeks ago when you all decided to tinker with the starting unit, and put in freshman Kenarious Gates, how much of it was the run blocking?

Searels: I think it was just overall we weren’t performing up to the level we wanted to perform up front. And he had been doing really good in practice. I had wanted to play him more a couple weeks before and he had got held out of a practice, and I’m not gonna play them if they don’t practice. The kid had shown that he could perform at a high level and was ready to play. We had a couple kids that were dinged up, and they were playing with some issues that they’ve had in the past and weren’t performing the way we wanted them to play. So we got a healthy body out there.

SE: Coach Bobo said after the Vanderbilt game that the run blocking had been good all year it just hadn’t been noticed. Would you agree with that?

Searels: No, because … (Pauses and laughs). I’m not gonna disagree with Bobo but I guess I will. You know, it’s our job to block. It’s our job to make room for the backs and it’s our job to protect the quarterback. And we haven’t done that well enough for us to win, that’s the bottom line. We haven’t blocked good enough to win.

SE: Josh Davis rotated in a lot –

Searels: He played more this past week than Gates did, actually. Josh was dinged up a little bit, and that’s part of the reason that Gates played, plus I thought Gates was ready to play. So I wanted to see what he could do, and he’s done a pretty good job.

SE: Was it pretty much those six (five starters plus Josh Davis) until the fourth quarter?

Searels: I tell you what, this past game everybody played. I’m talking about the first five that started, that included Gates, and Josh Davis played, and Chris Davis played, and Tanner Strickland played. Dallas Lee played and A.J. Harmon played. They all played probably 20 snaps, close to 20 snaps, all of them. So I was pleased to be able to do that. They all competed. The more competition, a guy can’t take plays off because a guy’s gonna take his job.

SE: Did it surprise you that had to end up doing this with such veteran guys going into the season?

Searels: Well you look at the history of this deal, we’ve had a lot of guys beat up. And I’m not making excuses, but Josh Davis last year comes off two shoulder surgeries, Chris Davis comes off hip surgery. Tanner Strickland comes off shoulder surgery. So you tell me where the depth is. There hasn’t been a lot of depth. If everybody was healthy and we had everybody playing, we might have some depth. But we haven’t had everybody healthy at one time.

Everybody wanted to talk about that crap but in reality we still had a lot of people banged up that couldn’t go through the whole camp, and therefore we haven’t had the depth I’d like to have. And we haven’t competed the way I’d like for us to compete early in the season. I think it’s improved over the last couple weeks and we’re looking for consistency.

SE: Is it possible that some of these guys read their press clippings a bit too much and relied less on their effort than they should have?

Searels: No, I’m not gonna say that. It takes us all, and we all didn’t play well together early. We didn’t have the results that we’d like to see early.

SE: I suspect I know the answer, but do you feel like you’ve turned the corner here, or if guys still don’t perform their might be more personnel changes?

Searels: You gotta go out every Saturday and compete. If you think you’ve arrived because you’ve won two games in a row, you’re not very smart, I’ll say that. So we gotta go out and compete every day. We’ve gotta go out and compete every day in practice: Tuesdays and Wednesdays when we’re hitting, we gotta compete. And then it’s gotta go over to the field and compete at a very high level on Saturday in the SEC. Playing at Kentucky, at night, we better be ready to really get after it and compete.


Billy said...

One thing just bothers me about this whole situation.
If the line is not blocking, as I believe was the case earlier this year, that REQUIRES some inventive playcalling.
You've got to get the runner out on the corner quick. Quick passes and roll outs.
But what I was frustrated with those earlier losses is trying to run the ball up the middle 3x, then punt.
If you can't beat a team w/ personnel, you have to beat them with coaching. And that didn't happen.
Finally, I'll restate my recurring theme. Why do we always seem to have so many injured players (particularly linemen)?
Maybe the coaches need to search for a voodoo doll hidden in the locker room.
For what it's worth, I think CSS has done a tremendous job shuffling personnel to assemble the O-line year after year.

Anonymous said...

So, Coach Searels, are you saying we have to compete?

Coach Searels, when is it OK not to compete?

Coach Searels, what about Sunday? Do we have to compete on Sunday?

Anonymous said...

look familiar

ZebulonDawg said...

Great Q & A Seth. Keep up the good work.

Quick question off subject, but does anyone know if this weeks game will be blacked out on ESPN3 or Gameplan?
I don't have CSS and trying to figure out how I can watch this game.


Willb said...

I myself have always been a huge Searels fan! When he was at LSU his line played great. When he got to ga his line consistently played great. I have always been afraid we were going to lose him he was so good. He has been pretty much the only coordinator we ha e had that I thought we could lose cause of how good he was.

Like with richt, the team doesn't play well he deserves criticism. When the offensive line isn't performing up to standards he is the one that should get critisized. With all that said like with CMR I for one know he all the sudden hasn't forgotten how to coach.

For whatever reason we are in the age of "what have you done for me this week?". Searels is one of the best offensive line coaches in the nation and there are plenty of teams that would jump at the chance of having him. I only hope that if any changes are made on the offensive side Searels is left out. His units have always performed dating back to his years with LSU and one subpar year doesn't merit him being fired. Same with Richt. They have not forgotten how to coach!

Bobo on the other hand can not forget what he possibly never knew. While a great or possibly the best in the nation qb coach he is by no means a offensive coordinator at this point in his career. Like with Martinez, he is a db coach and maybe that is all he should be. Bobo is a qb coach.

Like it seems we got it right with Grantham I think we will get it right with a new offensive coordinator. Hire someone new to the university with proven coaching ability.

Also I don't think we will have as hard of a time getting a marquee off coordinator as we did a def coordinator last year because we have Aaron Murray for the next three years just waiting to make a new coordinator look like a genius!

Chillbo said...

The game is listed on's schedule and it sounds like it will be on Gameplan, but for whatever reason, they still haven't released their schedule, yet.

PTC DAWG said... maybe...I doubt it will be available on gameplan in Georgia. We'll see.

For those with Comcast in the ATL area, the game is on ch 805...HiDef

UGA69Dawg said...

If you are in a Comcast or Charter coverage area ESPN3 and the Gameplan will be blacked out. I'm in south Florida and the Spring Game was blacked out. Comcast/Charter does not help their competition.

Burritoman said...

Just curious about this, but has Searels ever been a consideration for an OC position? I don't necessarily think he would be an obvious replacement for Bobo, but maybe should be a consideration.

Willb said...

Burritoman I have wondered the same thing. I know there was talk of him going to his alma matter auburn a couple of years ago but I don't think it was for the off coordinator position. I believe it was for the off line position but I'm not sure. He showed some loyalty and stayed at uga though. Wonder how he feels about that now with auburn playing so good and everyone wanting the whole uga off coaching staff fired.

Let's face it he's the only coach on the offensive side of the ball that other teams would love to have. A lot of people measure how good a teams staff is by how much other programs try to take them away. Other than Searels I believe Rodney garner is the only assistant that another team was going after in recent memory. Correct me if I'm wrong.

Anonymous said...

Question for CMR,
Why has he and his staff only recruited 3 players from below the gnat line the last 2 yrs?

Willb said...

Hey Seth what's the latest on Derrick Locke? Is he still probably out?

Willb said...

Everyone should check this out! Not just the Searels part but just to remind everyone what the public opinion was when Chizik was hired.

It's funny reading it now because it's a good example of fans maybe not knowing what's best for there favorite team. I'm sure Auburn fans aren't laughing at the hiring of Chizik now!

Dog44 said...

Good work, Seth.

Is it just me, or are we experiencing deja vu all over again?

Think back to last year... anemic rushing attack for the first half of the season... linemen didn't run block well, runners fell down at first contact. Searels shuffled the line and the run game had a dramtic turn-around.

I'm glad we're making changes but wondering why it takes half-way through the season for us to figure out how to consistently run the ball. This should be the first - not the last - part of the offensive playbook to come together.

As Searels is perhaps suggesting in his comments, maybe the primary problem is the many injuries to the o-lineman year-in and year-out. At some point that's not just bad luck, right?

I like Searels because of the great job he did with so much inexperience over the past few years. But if we want to get back in the SEC hunt we've got to figure out a way to start stronger rather than feeling our way every year. Maybe it's time to take a harder look at the S&C program for these guys, and/or ask if the RBs are being developed to their potential.

PTC DAWG said...

answer for anon.....

I count at least 9 signees in 09 from below the gnat line, and at least 5 from the class of 2010..

Now you tell me why it even matters?

King Jericho said...


I disagree, I still don't think Chizik has proven anything to me. Without Gus Malzhan and Cam Newton, what do they have left? A terrible defense and not much else. We'll just have to see what happens if/when Gus leaves and Cam leaves.

Anonymous said...

Why doesn't he talk to the media more often? He's great at saying a lot without saying a thing.

Willb said...

@king Jericho I was actually thinking the same thing. Cam newton and his offensive coordinator are making him look like a genius right now with a really bad defense. Then again this kind of thinking really bothers me when people criticize Phil Jackson.

Chizik did put all this in place. Hire a great offensive coordinator. Pick up Cam Newton as a juco player. Hes supposed to have great players and great coordinators. You have to give him some credit here. Great coaching jobs are usually done with great talent. You don't see very many teams with no talent but great coaches winning. It takes a combination of both I think.

His defense doesn't look very well right now but all things considered you have to admit he has done a great job so far. It could all far apart but I'm sure nobody would of predicted the success he has had so far.

Otto said...

I agree with other Searels has been the one coach that would not have a problem finding a job outside of UGA. He is proven, Bobo and the other position coaches are not. If Searles OL is not getting production it is because of S&C and/or playcalling.

Along the same lines Chizik does need Malzahn to look good. However, the job of a HC is to find coaches to make you look good, and get the talent in to play the scheme you want. UGA could learn something there. Further Tubbs looked great when he had good coordinators but was 8-5 without. Borges, Petrino, Chizik, and Muschamp were all great at their jobs, granted Borges did fall off. The Auburn defense is improving but still playing looads of young kids, mistakes will happen. If Chizik can keep coaches in place that compliment him, Auburn is a program on the rise.