Searels Happy to be in Athens

ATHENS - Searels was a hot commodity prior to Georgia's bowl game when Auburn came calling.


Offensive line coach Stacy Searels was a hot commodity prior to Georgia's bowl game when Auburn came calling in hopes of luring the offensive line coach away from the Bulldogs. Although he met with Tigers officials, Searels said he's thrilled to be staying in Athens.

"I like the job I have here at Georgia," he said. "I'm proud to be at Georgia. The reason I'm here is Mark Richt, this staff, particularly Mike Bobo and working with him, and it makes it real easy to do my job."


For the past two years, Knowshon Moreno made Tony Ball's job as running backs coach pretty easy. This season, however, Ball won't just be without his playmaking tailback – he'll be coaching a new position entirely.

Ball took over as wide receivers coach last month, with former receivers coach John Eason moving to an administrative position. He said the transition is going well so far – particularly with the addition of new recruit Marlon Brown – but there's still work to be done.

"I'm still moving – unloading some receiver information and packing some running back information," Ball said. "Any move is always stressful, but I'm looking forward to the challenge."


Head coach Mark Richt said 20 players missed the first day of mat drills last week due to injuries, but the number of beat-up Bulldogs should dwindle to almost zero by the time fall camp kicks off.

"If you look at the June list of where we predict everybody being, it's almost 100 percent of our football team by June should be ready to do everything full speed," Richt said.

In the meantime, Georgia's injured players are still getting in plenty of work. The team implemented an additional station for drills with a coach assigned to ensure they work any muscle group that is fully functioning – a tough test for players still recovering, but a necessary one, Richt said.

"We're going to have a full-time field coach with those injured players to make sure that every body part that does work is strained to the max," Richt said. "They're going to get graded and they're going to wish they were healthy."


The additions of Marlon Brown and Rantavious Wooten add two big-time playmakers to the Georgia receiving corps, but wide receivers coach Tony Ball said he's looking for another young wideout to add a spark on offense beyond the new recruits.

"We need more speed, more big-play ability," Ball said. "If you look at Tavarres King, he's quick, he's got some explosiveness, very good top-end speed, and was able to go through this year and get some experience. Now he's just got to make the mental change and become the player he's capable of becoming."


Richt wouldn't mind having a few extra days to rest after Georgia's season opener at Oklahoma State for 2009, but he said the rumors of a potential Thursday night game between the Bulldogs and Cowboys isn't likely.

"I would be excited about it because it would give us two extra days to prepare for our next opponent, which is South Carolina," he said, "but right now I don't know if that's going to happen."


Quarterback Zach Mettenberberger got his first taste of mat drills this week, and he said his legs were still throbbing hours after it was over. He didn't get much empathy from fellow early enrollee Aaron Murray, who got to skip the worst of the grueling offseason workouts as his leg and ankle still recover from an injury he suffered last fall.

"People say he's more mobile than me," Mettenberger said with a laugh, "but right now he's not."

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