According to WaPo's Mark Giannotto and the Richmond Times-Dispatch Mike Barber, Stacy Searels will be Virginia Tech's next offensive line coach. Searels coached the offensive line at Texas from 2011 through 2013, but was not retained by new Texas coach Charlie Strong.
Searels may seem like an off-the-radar hire, but given Beamer Co.'s working relationship with the previous regime at Texas, and Frank Beamer's friendship with Mack Brown, it makes sense.
In addition to his tenure at Texas, Searels has experience coaching at other major programs (table via texassports.com).
|2013||Assistant Head Coach/Offensive Line||Texas|
|2010||Running Game Coordinator/Offensive Line||Georgia|
|1994-2000||Offensive Line||Appalachian State|
In January GatorCountry.com incorrectly reported Searels would fill the o-line vacancy on Florida's staff. Even though the Gators eventually hired Mike Summers, GatorCountry.com dug up some great stats on Searels (that I'll assume [never do this] to be true).
At Georgia, Searels' offensive lines gave up only 42 sacks in the 39 games from 2007-09. Dealing with injuries and a freshman quarterback in 2010, the Georgia O-line gave up 25 sacks but the Bulldogs did produce a 3,000-yard passer and an 800-yard rusher despite numerous injuries both on the O-line and the backfield.
Searels was at Texas three years (2011-13). He was named assistant head coach in 2012. His best year was the 2012 season when Texas averaged 35.7 points and gave up only 16 sacks in 13 games. The Longhorns averaged 4.6 yards per rush and 8.5 per pass attempt. In 2013 with quarterback injuries that derailed the offense, the Longhorns still averaged 4.44 per rush and 6.4 per pass attempt while giving up only 16 sacks.
Although, Tim Tucker of ajc.com didn't give Searels a pass for a slump in 2010.
Georgia's offensive line was expected to be a pillar of the 2010 team but drew much criticism as the Bulldogs struggled to run the ball effectively. Georgia finished 10th in the SEC [a 12 team league then] in rushing.
The following excerpts were written by Wescott Eberts of Burnt Orange Nation. The first was published before Strong finalized his staff.
Offensive line coach Stacy Searels has a chance to stay after he was passed over for the same position at Florida. Some of the choices in 2014 recruiting -- like the lack of a high school offensive tackle take to this point in the process -- are a bit concerning, but there's no question that the offensive line got better over the last three seasons and was a strength of the team throughout much of the 2013 season.
As good as Stacy Searels was at Texas -- and the former Georgia offensive line coach certainly did an adequate job, at worst -- Wickline would represent a significant upgrade.
Draw your own conclusions, but from Eberts' perspective it seems Searels held his own at Texas—a program whose fans have lofty expectations every season.
It's not optimal to summarize offensive line play with just basic statistics. There's context to everything. However, they are useful as a summary.
|Year||Team||Rushing Yards / Game||Sacks Allowed / Game||TFL Allowed / Game|
|2013||Texas||196.2 (36th)||1.23 (T-17th)||6.31 (T-76th)|
|2012||Texas||171.46 (53rd)||1.23 (T-22nd)||4.08 (T-3rd)|
|2011||Texas||202.62 (21st)||2.15 (T-73rd)||5.92 (T-67th)|
|2010||Georgia||142.62 (73rd)||1.92 (T-62nd)||4.85 (T-23rd)|
|2009||Georgia||161.00 (47th)||.92 (T-6th)||4.77 (T-25th)|
|2008||Georgia||148.31 (56th)||1.31 (T-21st)||4.69 (T-21st)|
|2007||Georgia||177.23 (37th)||1.15 (T-13th)||4.38 (T-6th)|
The numbers range from good to excellent, and nothing is a complete fail. Based on this data, the worst seasons were 2010 and '11; Searels last at Georgia, and first at Texas, respectively. Searels coached lines paved the way for an average 171.35 rushing yards per game. To give you a number to use for comparison, Tech rushed for 186.86 yards per game in 2011 and won 11 games.
According to the Rivals.com database, Searels secured commitments from 8 three-star, 15 four-star, and 1 five-star during his time at Georgia and Texas. That's an impressive resume, but take it at face value. I couldn't tell you how many of those prospects qualified or panned out. At a glance, I only recognized Ben Jones (drafted 99th overall by the Texans in 2012 and started 11 games), and Tech's Brent Benedict who transferred from Georgia.
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Knowing a little bit about Searels' background made me feel confident about the hire. I was more at ease after reading, "In each of his first two seasons [at Georgia] he took offensive lines with three freshman starters and molded them into formidable units that were instrumental in the Dogs' 11-2 and 10-3 records and top ten final rankings." He'll inherit a rebuilding scenario at Tech, especially after the 2014 seniors graduate. On paper, it looks like a strong move by Beamer Co. However, it's impossible to judge how he'll pan out in Blacksburg until pads are cracking again, and even one season of film might not be enough to evaluate. It also remains to be seen how his vision meshes with Scot Loeffler's.
Vastly improved fundamentals and 5 verbal commitments earned Jeff Grimes more than a passing grade at Tech. Now Searels will try to build on top of the foundation laid by Grimes as Tech continues to try to return to a team capable of imposing its will and running the football.