SEC: Stacy Searels

Texas' new staff will have an SEC flavor

January, 20, 2011
1/20/11
10:42
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By now, we get it.

Mack Brown likes what he sees in terms of the quality of coaching in the SEC.

Who in the SEC hasn’t the Texas head coach reached out to, talked to or tried to woo to Austin to be a part of the Longhorns’ staff?

Texas might play in the Big 12, but the Longhorns’ staff will have a distinct SEC flavor next season.

And they’re paying some serious cash.

Georgia’s Stacy Searels is reportedly getting more than $400,000 to coach Texas’ offensive line. As recently as two years ago, that would have been considered a handsome salary for an offensive or defensive coordinator.

Of course, nobody in the SEC can say anything about paying outrageous salaries to assistants. Five of the 12 defensive coordinators in the league are poised to make $700,000 or more next season, and Auburn offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn will rake in a cool $1.3 million.

Still, think about all the coaches in the SEC that Brown has come after since the end of the Longhorns’ disappointing 2010 season.

He hired Manny Diaz away from Mississippi State to be his defensive coordinator. That’s after LSU’s John Chavis said thanks, but no thanks. Tennessee’s Justin Wilcox was also in play for the Texas defensive coordinator’s job before withdrawing his name from consideration, and there were reports that Florida’s Teryl Austin was part of that whole process, too.

Unless there’s some late snag, it looks like Searels will leave Georgia to coach the offensive line at Texas. That’s after Auburn’s Jeff Grimes interviewed for that same job last week, but elected to stay on the Plains.

Brown also hired Bennie Wylie away from Tennessee to be his strength and conditioning coach and hired Bo Davis away from Alabama to be his defensive tackles coach.

If you throw in Major Applewhite, who went from Alabama to Texas following the 2007 season, that means five of the Longhorns’ assistants next season will have come from the SEC.

Hey, if you can’t beat ‘em, hire ‘em away.

Stacy Searels reportedly leaving Georgia

January, 20, 2011
1/20/11
9:41
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It looks like Georgia coach Mark Richt will be in the market for a new offensive line coach.

Several reports have Stacy Searels headed to Texas. He was in Austin on Wednesday interviewing for the job and told several people close to him that he'd agreed to take the job, although neither school has made an announcement.

Searels has been the Bulldogs' offensive line coach since 2007. He was considered one of the top offensive line coaches in the country, although Georgia fans were disappointed with the play up front offensively each of the past two years. The Bulldogs finished 10th this season in rushing offense.

Richt overhauled his defensive staff last year, with defensive line coach Rodney Garner being the only one to survive. The only change Richt had made this year was shaking up the strength and conditioning staff. But with Searels reportedly on his way out, Richt will have an extremely important hire to make on the offensive line.

The Bulldogs have an excellent quarterback to build around in Aaron Murray, but they have to be more consistent up front next season and be able to run the ball in critical situations.

Benedict another key pickup for Bulldogs

June, 16, 2009
6/16/09
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Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low

Georgia's 2010 signing class isn't bursting at the seams with numbers like Alabama, Florida and LSU, but it's hard to argue with the quality of prospects the Bulldogs are landing.

Brent Benedict, one of the top offensive tackle prospects in the country, is the latest highly rated player to commit to Georgia. He's also the second player Georgia has beaten Florida for in the last two weeks. Receiver Da'Rick Rogers of Calhoun, Ga., committed to the Bulldogs last week. Both are members of the ESPNU 150 Watch List.

The 6-foot-5, 280-pound Benedict is a freakish athlete for a guy his size and was recruited by all the powerhouses. He plays at the Bolles School in Jacksonville, Fla., and is used to facing strong competition.

Georgia offensive line coach Stacy Searels was a big factor in Benedict's decision, and judging by some of the young talent already in the program and on the way, the Bulldogs' offensive line the next few years should be the strength of the team.

Benedict isn't the first member from his family to be a highly rated football prospect. His older brother, Heath Benedict, signed with Tennessee out of school and later wound up at Newberry, where he became an All-American and NFL draft prospect.

Sadly, Heath died suddenly in March 2008 from an irregular heartbeat caused by an enlarged heart. The draft was only about a month away.

I covered the Senior Bowl that year in January, and Heath was the only Division II player there. I had a chance to sit down and talk with him in Mobile, and he was so eager to prove that he belonged.

The other thing that stuck out to me was how proud he was of his brother. I remember him telling me to watch out for Brent and that he was going to be one of the top prospects in the country.

I know Heath would be just as proud if he were still here today.

Pay hikes for Georgia assistants

March, 2, 2009
3/02/09
3:48
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Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low

Georgia assistants Stacy Searels, Rodney Garner and Mike Bobo all received nice raises, as first reported by Marc Weiszer of The Athens Banner-Herald.

Searels and Garner each went up to $290,000 annually. Both were wooed by other schools this offseason. Auburn came after Searels for its offensive line job, while Tennessee offered Garner as much as $400,000 to come back to Knoxville. Garner is the Bulldogs' recruiting coordinator and defensive line coach. He was on Tennessee's staff for two years in 1996-97. 

Searels added the title of running game coordinator at Georgia and received a 23.2 percent raise. Garner's raise was 14.5 percent.

Bobo, the Bulldogs' offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, got the largest raise. He's now making $325,000, a raise of $57,500.

Georgia's nine assistant coaches will make a combined $2.02 million in 2009, which trails Tennessee, Alabama and LSU in the SEC.

Georgia's Samuel to miss spring practice

January, 28, 2009
1/28/09
4:56
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Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low

The race to replace Georgia tailback Knowshon Moreno will have to wait a while. Richard Samuel is out for the spring after undergoing wrist surgery Wednesday.

Doctors say Samuel should be back in time for the start of preseason practice, which means the Bulldogs will have a chance to look at other tailbacks this spring.

Caleb King and Samuel were expected to battle for the starting job. It's really not a big deal who wins the job, because both guys are going to play. The Bulldogs have been at their best when they could rely on two or three guys in the backfield.

But with quarterback Matthew Stafford gone to the NFL, the running game will be even more important for Georgia next season, especially with so much experience returning in the offensive line. The Bulldogs were forced to play a bunch of young players on the offensive line the last two years and move guys around because of injuries.

All that juggling should pay dividends in 2009, as the offensive line figures to be one of the strengths of the team.

Perhaps Mark Richt's best recruiting job this offseason was keeping offensive line coach Stacy Searels on staff and not letting him get away to Auburn. Searels has worked wonders the last two seasons.

Chavis on the move to LSU

December, 29, 2008
12/29/08
2:14
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Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low

Fresh off traveling to see some family and brushing up on my toy assembly skills, I'm back in the saddle and looking forward to a full week of football.

There's been plenty of news on the assistant coach front in the SEC.

LSU has settled on former Tennessee defensive coordinator John Chavis to run its defense next season, and an announcement is expected later this week.

That's a solid hire for LSU coach Les Miles. The way Chavis likes to play defense is a good fit for that program. Chavis puts a premium on speed and finding the right kind of athletes to play his pressure style. The Tigers aren't hurting for defensive talent.

In addition to putting good defenses on the field, Chavis has been a master at churning out good linebackers. The latest was Jerod Mayo, who went 10th overall in the NFL draft to the New England Patriots last year.

In other moves, Florida coach Urban Meyer promoted offensive line coach Steve Addazio to offensive coordinator to replace Dan Mullen, who was hired as the Mississippi State head coach. Mullen will stay on through the FedEx BCS National Championship Game and call plays against Oklahoma.

With Addazio getting the nod, I wonder what that means for Florida receivers coach and recruiting coordinator Billy Gonzales, who's been mentioned as a possibility on Lane Kiffin's staff at Tennessee?

Staying on the Florida theme, isn't it way past time for somebody to give defensive coordinator Charlie Strong a chance at a head coaching job?

Auburn coach Gene Chizik has hired Gus Malzahn away from Tulsa to be the Tigers' offensive coordinator.

I'm sure there were some Auburn fans thinking, "Oh, no, not another spread offense guy," when they heard about Malzahn's hiring. After all, Tommy Tuberville's decision to bring in Tony Franklin to run the spread is what cost Tuberville his job.

But no two spread offenses are the same, and the other difference with Malzahn is that he will be working with a staff at Auburn that believes in what he's doing. That was never the case with Franklin and some of Tuberville's longtime assistants, who were apprehensive from the beginning about bringing in a guy from the outside and putting in a whole new system.

The biggest challenge for Auburn is recruiting to the spread offense and finding a quarterback who can run it.

Georgia got the best post-Christmas present it could have received when offensive line coach Stacy Searels informed Mark Richt that he planned to stay at Georgia after talking to Chizik about joining the Auburn staff.

Searels, who played at Auburn, was underpaid this past season at Georgia. Look for him to get a nice bump.

Auburn wooing Searels for offensive line job

December, 19, 2008
12/19/08
5:45
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Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low

As expected, Auburn is making a play for Stacy Searels to return to his alma mater under new coach Gene Chizik.

Searels, who played under Pat Dye at Auburn and was an All-America offensive lineman in 1987, has been the offensive line coach at Georgia for the past two seasons. He's considered one of the best offensive line coaches in the SEC and has done an exceptional job at Georgia in overcoming youth and injuries.

The Bulldogs went through four different left tackles this season and were forced to play several different combinations up front. Yet, Georgia still finished second in the SEC in total offense and tied for second in scoring offense. The Bulldogs allowed just 15 sacks in 12 games, which was also tied for second in the league.

In 2007, Searels oversaw a Georgia offensive line that started three freshmen. He was at LSU for four seasons before coming to Georgia, the first two working under Nick Saban.

Auburn looking to reunite

December, 18, 2008
12/18/08
11:23
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Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low

The word coming out of Auburn is that new coach Gene Chizik will pursue several coaches to be on his staff that either played at Auburn or coached at Auburn.

That makes sense, especially with former Auburn coach Pat Dye being such a strong supporter of the Chizik hiring.

It's akin to getting the band back together.

Three names that immediately come to mind are Georgia assistant head coach and recruiting coordinator Rodney Garner, Georgia offensive line coach Stacy Searels and Ole Miss defensive line coach Tracy Rocker. All three played under Dye at Auburn.

Georgia coach Mark Richt, though, says he hasn't heard from anybody yet at Auburn wanting to talk to Garner or Searels.

Searels did one of the best jobs of any assistant in the SEC this season, and if the Bulldogs want to keep him, they might want to ante up. He wasn't one of the top two or three highest paid offensive line coaches in the SEC this year, but he certainly deserves to be.

SEC mailbag: Jones gets the nod over Green ... barely

December, 10, 2008
12/10/08
2:15
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Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low

Now that the BCS National Championship Game has been set and all the bowl matchups are locked in, what else is there to talk about? In the realm of the SEC mailbag, there's always something:

Preston in Athens, Ga., writes: Explain to me how Julio Jones deserved Freshman of the Year honors over A.J. Green when Green outgained Jones by 104 receiving yards and scored twice as many touchdowns (8 to 4). And I forgot to mention that Green led the entire SEC in receiving yards, but I guess that doesn't cut it. My God a Freshman!

Chris Low: First of all, love the Larry Munson impersonation. Secondly, I'm one of those who voted for Jones over Green. Both had fabulous freshman seasons. Both have unbelievable futures. What it came down to for me was that Jones was simply a better player, the toughest one-on-one cover in the league and the guy nobody could tackle after the catch. I realize Green had better numbers, and I'm not taking anything away from his season. But the Bulldogs threw it nearly 100 more times than the Crimson Tide this year. Had Jones been in Georgia's offense, his numbers would have been comparable, if not better, than Green's. The real story here is that the SEC has two of the better freshman receivers in the country and two of the better receivers I've seen come into this league in the same year in a long time.


Joe in Greenwood, S.C., writes: Mr Low, you're usually very accurate with you stories and blogs, so I was surprised when claimed Chris Smelley would be starter for the South Carolina/Iowa game in your bowl preview blog. Steve Spurrier announced Stephen Garcia as the starter shortly after the Clemson game. Part of the draw for the Outback bowl selecting South Carolina was because Tampa is Garcia's hometown.

Chris Low: Joe, you are 100 percent correct, which is why I count on you guys to keep me straight. Spurrier did indeed announce Garcia as the starter for the bowl game soon after the Clemson loss. Granted, the Head Ball Coach still has the rest of this month to change his mind, and he's never been one to change his mind, right? Honestly, he's gone back and forth so much between quarterbacks this season that I lost track a long time ago. You can see the frustration oozing out of him any time the Gamecocks' quarterback play is mentioned. He's not giving up on Garcia, especially since he's only a redshirt freshman. But Garcia had better become more of a student of the game and respond better to Spurrier's coaching if he wants to be South Carolina's quarterback of the future. Thanks again for the heads-up. I heard from several in the Gamecock Nation, and I've since clarified in the Outback Bowl preview that Garcia will be the starter. I also realize this means I probably won't be allowed back into my hometown of Rock Hill again. Maybe they'll take me in Fort Mill or Lancaster or even Great Falls.


Nat in Atlanta writes: No offense to the Oklahoma offensive coordinator, but Stacy Searels was robbed when he didn't win the Broyles Award. I guess he wasn't as visible because Georgia wasn't in the running for a conference or national title. With all the O-line injuries and youth, and for that offense to be as explosive as it was, Searels had a lot to do with it and deserves at least some sort of recognition.

Chris Low: You're preaching to the choir. Searels would get my vote as the SEC assistant who did the best job this season. For that matter, he did a terrific job in 2007 when he was starting three freshmen. The Bulldogs were again young this season, but injuries forced them to play four different left tackles. They also had four different starters to miss games this season, and Searels probably quit counting at five or six as far as the number of different combinations he had to use up front. Through it all, the Bulldogs never really skipped a beat offensively. Any time you have a quarterback that throws for more than 3,200 yards, a running back that runs for more than 1,300 yards and two receivers who have more than 900 yards in receptions, the guys up front -- and their coach -- are doing something right. Now, if we could just get Searels to tell us how he's done it these last two seasons. He doesn't speak to the media.


Jason in Valdosta, Ga., writes: Can you give me a valid reason why Rashad Johnson isn't in the running for the Jim Thorpe award? I'm not going to throw stats at you because I want you to look at them for yourself, 12-1 in a "rebuilding" year and Alabama still gets no respect. Call me a homer if you want, but this isn't right.

Chris Low: Rashad Johnson is easily one of the best three or four safeties I saw in college football this season. When the Thorpe semi-finalists came out and his name wasn't included, I immediately wrote that it was a sham. That next week, Johnson intercepted three passes, including one he returned for a touchdown and one that sealed the game, in a 27-21 overtime win against LSU. Had they waited a week later, there's no question in my mind that he would have been included and still deserved to be anyway. He's an example of everything that's good about college football. Nobody recruited him out of high school, and he wasn't on all the recruiting lists. He walked on at Alabama, made a name for himself on special teams and is now one of the best defensive backs in the SEC and a senior leader on an Alabama team that returned the Tide to national prominence this season.

SEC internal affairs: Grant to get his shot?

November, 12, 2008
11/12/08
11:00
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Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low

Our weekly look at some Internal Affairs in the SEC:

1. A Grant sighting: A neck injury has left Roy Upchurch's status for Saturday's game against Mississippi State as doubtful, meaning Terry Grant may get his shot in Alabama's three-pronged running attack. Grant was the Crimson Tide's leading rusher last season with 891 yards. But he's been buried on the bench this season behind Glen Coffee, Mark Ingram and Upchurch. Alabama coach Nick Saban hopes Grant can provide some of the things Upchurch had brought to the Tide offense, namely some speed to the outside and the ability to catch the ball out of the backfield. Grant has carried the ball just 28 times for 77 yards this season, as Saban has opted for more physical between-the-tackles runners.

2. Sticking with the Wild-Cobb: Kentucky threw the ball all over the place the past two years with Andre' Woodson setting SEC records. The Wildcats still like to think of themselves as a pro-style offense. But for the time being, they're going with what they do best -- and that's freshman quarterback Randall Cobb lining up in the shotgun and breaking teams down with his quick feet and open-field running. It's Kentucky's version of the spread option, and it produced 226 rushing yards last week in the 42-38 loss to Georgia. Vanderbilt can expect to see more of it this Saturday, especially with the Wildcats so depleted at receiver. Cobb's a special talent, too. Once he cuts down on his mistakes, he's going to be one of those quarterbacks nobody wants to face.

3. Run Kodi run: After rushing for 158 yards last week in Auburn's 37-20 win over Tennessee-Martin, Auburn quarterback Kodi Burns knows that's not going to cut it against Georgia. He's also not likely to pass for 318 yards like he did two weeks ago in the loss to Ole Miss. The Tigers would like him to come in somewhere in the middle of those two extremes against the Bulldogs and without the three second-half interceptions he threw against Ole Miss. Burns looks much more comfortable now that it's clear that he's Auburn's quarterback. He still can't be a gun-slinger, though, whether he's running it or passing it. He carried the ball 13 times last week, which would be a bit risky if he were facing an SEC defense. The last thing the Tigers need is to get him hurt.

4. More shuffling up front: It's become a weekly routine for Georgia offensive line coach Stacy Searels: This guy moves here, and that guy moves there. The latest injury in the Bulldogs' offensive line is to right tackle Justin Anderson, who hurt his foot against Kentucky and will miss the Auburn game and possibly the Georgia Tech game. The Bulldogs are working sophomores Josh Davis and Kiante Tripp at right tackle this week in practice. Since the preseason, Tripp has moved from right tackle to left tackle to tight end and now back to right tackle again. This will be the fifth different combination the Bulldogs have used on the offensive line this season when they face Auburn on Saturday.

5. Musical quarterbacks: Nobody rotates quarterbacks on every play. That is, with the exception of Steve Spurrier. The Head Ball Coach is looking seriously at rotating Stephen Garcia and Chris Smelley on every play, or at least every few plays, this Saturday against Florida. As unconventional as it sounds, Spurrier liked the way it worked last weekend in the 34-21 win over Arkansas. It's not a strategy Spurrier plans on sticking with forever. But since Garcia and Smelley haven't been able to separate themselves, Spurrier's going to run them in and out of the game until they do. He pulled a similar stunt when he was at Florida in 1998 with Doug Johnson and Jesse Palmer.

Youth not holding back Georgia's offensive line

October, 28, 2008
10/28/08
3:53
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Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low

Mark Richt has called them his "young pups" and fittingly so.

Of all the story lines as we head down the homestretch of the SEC race, none is more compelling than what Georgia has been able to accomplish with a ridiculously young offensive line.

The Bulldogs are starting two true freshmen (center Ben Jones and left guard Cordy Glenn), one redshirt freshman (right tackle Justin Anderson) and two sophomores (right guard Chris Davis and left tackle Clint Boling).

The only one of those players who's been in the program for more than two years is Davis, who redshirted his first year on campus.

"You've got a lot of guys up there working hard to get better, and they've adjusted to everything they've seen," said Georgia tailback Knowshon Moreno, who's rushed for 436 yards and averaged 6.1 yards per carry the last three weeks.

"That's the thing about our offensive line. We have depth, guys who can step up and get the job done. And we'll have even more next year."

Knee injuries to tackles Trinton Sturdivant and Vince Vance were a blow, but offensive line coach Stacy Searels has seen to it that the Bulldogs' play up front didn't drop off. Quarterback Matthew Stafford has only been sacked once in the last three games, and Moreno is coming off some of his most productive games of the season.

The Florida game will be the third straight in which Georgia has gone with its all freshman/sophomore lineup. Vance was at left tackle until he hurt his knee in the second quarter of the Tennessee game. Boling moved from right guard to left tackle.

This is the fourth different combination the Bulldogs have used this season, and according to Brett Edgerton in ESPN's Stats and Analysis department, the youngest starting five by far among the top 10 teams in the BCS standings this week. No other team in the top 10 of the BCS standings starts even one freshman in the offensive line.

The only other Top 25 team that's as young in the offensive line is Florida State, which also starts three freshmen and two sophomores. Minnesota starts two freshmen and two sophomores, while Boise State starts two freshmen and one sophomore.

Florida-Georgia rivalry hot, SEC coaching deans not

October, 27, 2008
10/27/08
6:10
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low

The races in both the Eastern and Western Divisions are certainly heating up, although Alabama now has a two-game cushion in the West. And the coaching seats of Tennessee's Phillip Fulmer and Auburn's Tommy Tuberville are getting hotter by the week. Let's take a look at what else and who else are hot and not in our weekly rundown of the league:

En Fuego
The Florida-Georgia rivalry: When's the last time this rivalry has been this hot? It's off-the-charts hot and not just because of the Bulldogs' end zone celebration last season. That's going to get a lot of play this week even if neither side is talking about it publicly. But the stakes in this game are much higher than revenge. Both teams are ranked in the Top 10, the first time that's happened since 1999. More importantly, the winner takes a commanding lead in the East race and stays in the running for a berth in the BCS National Championship Game. This rivalry has always been one of the most colorful rivalries in the South with the uniqueness of the neutral site, all the festive tailgating (We won't use the forbidden nickname for the game) and the fact that the two sides really don't care for each other. But this year, it means so much more than anything going on around the game.

Hot
Georgia running back Knowshon Moreno:
The Bulldogs' sensational tailback has been hot for three straight weeks now. He torched the LSU defense for 168 yards rushing last week, including a 68-yard touchdown run. There's not a player in the league that's more exciting to watch.

Not
LSU's defense:
What a difference a year makes. Simply, the Tigers are underachieving on defense. They've played two legitimate offensive teams this season and given up a total of 82 defensive points in those games. Where have you gone Glenn Dorsey?

Hot
Arkansas tight end D.J. Williams:
One of the best athletes in the league nobody has heard of, Williams set a school-record for most catches by a tight end with 10 catches for 129 yards in the loss to Ole Miss.

Not
Tennessee's discipline:
On two different occasions in the loss to Alabama, Tennessee had just 10 men on the field. One of the times cost the Vols a key first down in the first half when they were penalized for illegal formation.

Hot
Florida's offense:
Remember when all the Florida fans were wondering what was wrong with the Gators' offense? The only thing wrong now is scoreboard operators keeping up with how fast they score. The emergence of freshman running back Jeffrey Demps has made a huge difference.

Not
Arkansas fans:
Hey, nobody expected any roses for Houston Nutt's return, but how is a guy who had the kind of success he had in the Ozarks and did it the right way so reviled? Granted, Nutt wasn't perfect, but he's not an outlaw, either.

Hot
Georgia offensive line coach Stacy Searels:
He's done a masterful job with the Bulldogs' offensive line under trying circumstances. Getting it done up front in this league with three freshmen is miraculous enough, but juggling all the different combinations has made it all the more amazing. That said, Stacy, can I get an interview?

Not
Kentucky's special teams:
You have to try pretty hard to get three kicks blocked in one game. But the Wildcats managed to do it in one half in their 63-5 loss to Florida. Talk about a complete breakdown of the kicking game.

Ice, Ice Baby
Coaching deans of the SEC:
When you combine their coaching tenures, Tennessee's Phillip Fulmer and Auburn's Tommy Tuberville have coached in this league for 30 seasons and done it successfully and with class. Fulmer is in his 16th full season at his alma mater. Tuberville is in his 10th season at Auburn. He also coached for four seasons at Ole Miss before landing in the Plains. But in a sobering reminder of how this league chews up and spits out coaches, both men are now fighting for their coaching lives. There's a chance that neither will finish with a winning season, and if that's the case, it's unlikely that either will be back next season ... hard as that is to believe.

SEC week 9 award winners

October, 27, 2008
10/27/08
11:29
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low

You could take just the Florida and Georgia offenses from last week and pick out 10 or 12 guys deserving of honors. I guess they do play a little offense in the SEC after all. Anyway, here are our weekly awards in the SEC:

OFFENSE

Antoine Caldwell, center, Alabama: Georgia's Knowshon Moreno had a great game in the win over LSU, but Caldwell and the Alabama offensive line have been consistently great all season, Caldwell, one of those guys who's a great leader and a great player, was a force against Tennessee. He didn't allow any sacks or pressures and wasn't penalized. The Alabama offensive line also didn't allow any sacks and is playing at a level right now that leads to championships.

DEFENSE

Darryl Gamble, linebacker, Georgia: Dannell Ellerbe's going to have a tough time getting his starting spot back from Gamble, who's filled in the last few weeks for the Bulldogs' injured middle linebacker. Gamble tied an NCAA record for linebackers by intercepting two passes and returning them for touchdowns against LSU. He also capped his record-setting day with a career-high 13 tackles.

SPECIAL TEAMS

Jeffrey Demps, running back, Florida: The great thing about special teams at Florida is that Urban Meyer doesn't care who you are or where you play. If you can contribute on special teams, you're going to get a chance. Demps, the Gators' most dangerous offensive weapon right now, blocked a first-quarter punt against Kentucky to set up a 1-yard touchdown drive. Demps was one of three Gators to have blocked kicks against the Wildcats.

COACH

Stacy Searels, offensive line coach, Georgia: We probably won't get any insight into how he's doing it, because Searels doesn't talk to the media. But he's done a terrific job with an offensive line that's on its fourth different combination and fourth different left tackle. The Bulldogs are playing two true freshmen and one redshirt freshman and more than held their own last week against an LSU defensive line laden with future NFL players.

Searels holding it together up front for Bulldogs

October, 13, 2008
10/13/08
9:15
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low

If Georgia manages to win the Eastern Division title and get to Atlanta this season, it will be one of the all-time great juggling jobs by offensive line coach Stacy Searels and the Bulldogs' staff.

Georgia will be using its fourth different left tackle this Saturday against Vanderbilt. The plan is to move sophomore right guard Clint Boling to left tackle now that it's been confirmed that senior Vince Vance is out for the season with torn ligaments in his right knee. Boling finished the Tennessee game at left tackle after Vance went down last weekend.

This injury plague started for the Bulldogs during the preseason when their best offensive lineman, left tackle Trinton Sturdivant, blew out his knee and was lost for the season. Georgia initially moved Kiante Tripp from right tackle to left tackle, but has since moved him to tight end. Tripp may now be on his way back to tackle for depth purposes.

Vance, the only upperclassmen in Georgia's line, had started the last few games at left tackle after opening the season at guard.

The Bulldogs now look at the strong possibility of going with three freshmen in the offensive line the rest of the way -- Ben Jones at center, Cordy Glenn at right guard and Justin Anderson at right tackle. Jones and Glenn are true freshmen, while Anderson is a redshirt freshman.

Youth and a lack of continuity in the offensive line is never a good combination for a team chasing a title. So far, Searels has done a masterful job of holding it together. We'd love to ask him his secret, but his idea of talking to the media is akin to going out and playing in a patch of poison ivy.

And the last thing the Bulldogs need is anybody even remotely connected with the offensive line on the shelf.

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