offensive line coach

Bryan Harsin officially becomes head coach at Arkansas State, Major Applewhite to take over playcalling duties

Former Longohrns offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin has officially been named the head coach at Arkansas State, Texas announced Wedensday afternoon.

With Harsin's departure, Major Applewhite will retain his title as co-offensive coordinator and will now assume the playcalling duties while wide receivers coach Darrell Wyatt has been promoted to co-offensive coordinator. Among the other staff changes are Stacy Searels' move from offensive line coach to assistant head coach for offense. With the promotion of Wyatt, who tight ends coach Bruce Chambers split recruiting duties with, Chambers will now handle the recruiting responsibilities on his own.

Texas also announced that it will begin looking for a running backs coach, a role that Applewhite had while serving as co-offensive coordinator for the last two seasons.

"[Bryan] has done a tremendous job fo us, and we appreciate all the energy he's poured into our program the past two seasons," Longhorns head coach Mack Brown said in a statement. "He's a bright young head coach with great enthusiasm and passion for the kids and the game. He'll do a tremendous job at Arkansas State. Because of the great support and resources [men's athletics director] DeLoss Dodds, [UT president] Bill Powers and The University of Texas provide us, our coaches are well compensated and in a position that they can focus all of their energy on our program and be patient when it comes to future opportunitites. We're excited for Bryan because after visiting with the folks at Arkansas State, he feels like it is a great situation for him. We're happy any time our coaches have the opportunity to be a head coach. I think that is a great reflection of the types of coaches we are fortunate enough to have in our program."

Applewhite, who left Texas as its all-time leading passer in 2002, was a graduate assistant for the Longhorns from 2003-04. After spending a year as the quarterbacks coach at Syracuse (2005), Rice (2006), and Alabama (2007), he returned to Texas to serve as the running backs coach. In 2010, he was promoted to co-offensive coordinator following the departure of Greg Davis.

He'll make his playcalling debut when the Longhorns take on Oregon State in the Valero Alamo Bowl on Dec. 29.

After a disappointing 5-7 season two years ago Mack Brown cleaned house, but his new assistants have kept ties with this year's recruits.

Photo Credit: Elisabeth Dillon | Daily Texan Staff

When Stacy Searels first set foot on the field at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium, he was in awe.
“What a beautiful place,” Searels thought. “Tommy Nobis played here.”

Searels, Georgia’s offensive line coach at the time, eventually took the same position at Texas. An All-American offensive lineman at Auburn, Searels became one of the six new coaches Mack Brown hired last January. Another one of them, co-offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin, had a similar situation when he was introduced to the Longhorns’ 88 year-old football stadium.

“If you go into the stadium, you’re going to take the job, so be careful down there,” Texas head coach Mack Brown warned Harsin. “He said, ‘I’m going to be fine. I’ve been in a lot of stadiums.’ So he walks in and his kids start crying. And I said, ‘We are in.’”

The Longhorns signed one of the nation’s best recruiting classes Wednesday and have assistants like Harsin and Searels to thank. While Harsin, Searels, defensive coordinator Manny Diaz, wide receivers coach Darrell Wyatt and defensive tackles coach Bo Davis had not been in Austin for a month before last year’s Signing Day, they were instrumental in assembling one of the country’s finest recruiting class.

All but one of 23 members of Texas’ recruiting class of 2011 committed to play for the Longhorns before they went 5-7 and lost two-thirds of their coaching staff. But despite the fact Brown was hiring coaches in the weeks leading up to Signing Day a year ago, he signed all of the players that made verbal commitments to Texas except Chandler, Ariz. native and five-star offensive tackle Christian Westerman.

“We all fought our guts out to keep those 22 kids,” Brown said. “I thought last year’s [recruiting class] was maybe the most satisfying we’ve ever had with all the problems we had.”

The Longhorns went on to play 17 true freshmen last season, more than any team in the nation, including Big 12 Freshman of the Year defensive back Quandre Diggs and Holiday Bowl MVP quarterback David Ash. Rookie running backs Malcolm Brown and Joe Bergeron combined to rush for more than 1,200 yards despite each missing three games due to injuries. Freshman left tackle Josh Cochran took over midseason for Tray Allen, one of the country’s top offensive tackle prospects five years ago.

“Stacy started a lot of freshmen at Georgia,” Brown said. “He doesn’t care. He’s going to play the guys that are passionate enough, in tuned and ready to play every day at practice. He’s a very demanding coach. But I just think that he’s really good at what he does.”

With Texas not having to piece its coaching staff back together, the Longhorns used its newfound stability to reel in a superb recruiting class this year. Brown’s assistants, especially Searels and Davis, were crucial to picking up prospects such as Torshiro Davis, once committed to LSU, but who signed with Texas. The four-star linebacker from Shreveport had known Bo Davis since his days coaching at Alabama.

Searels also helped the Longhorns steal away a recruit from the SEC when Van High School linebacker Dalton Santos, who Searels had his eye on since he was at Georgia, committed. Brown said that Searels nabbed all of the offensive linemen he was targeting, including junior college transfer Donald Hawkins. Davis also attracted a junior college player to Texas in 6-foot-6-inch, 335-pound defensive tackle Brandon Moore.

“I’m really impressed with Stacy and Bo and what they’re doing for our line of scrimmage,” Brown said.

“Players like to play for an offensive line coach that played in the NFL, that was an All-American, and that blocked for Bo Jackson. They like to play for a defensive line coach that beat us in the national title game two seasons ago at Alabama.”

After helping the Longhorns sign yet another outstanding recruiting class, Davis has an excellent chance to be part of a national title-winning team at Texas.

O-line coach joins staff after 7 years in SEC

Stacy Searels isn’t a man who likes a lot of change.

Growing up in Georgia, he lived in the same house for 18 years — even the furniture didn’t change.

But when Mack Brown called last week to fill a vacant spot on his coaching staff, Searels couldn’t pass up the chance to come to Texas and change one more time.

“It is a slam dunk to be here at Texas,” Searels said.

Searels spent the past three seasons as the offensive line coach at Georgia, and will serve in the same capacity at Texas.

“Coach Brown told me he was reenergized. He feels like this is his first year here at Texas,” Searels said. “I know he wants to win championships here, and I think he’s got a great plan.”

But the move wasn’t easy for Searels, who has coached in the SEC since 2003. It was hard for him to leave the people he’d formed friendships with, especially the players he’d coached.

“I spent more time with those guys than I did with my wife and children,” he said. “There were times when I shut the door and didn’t know if I was going [to coach at Texas] or not.”

Searels called every recruit committed to Georgia, telling them how hard it was to leave. He also called every player he’d ever coached on the Georgia offensive line.

“Probably the biggest thing to overcome is leaving the players,” he said. “You build a relationship with them, and I love every one of them.”

Searels’ first task as offensive line coach will be recruiting. National signing day is Feb. 3, and the Longhorns’ recruiting class took a hit Friday with the de-commitment of top-ranked offensive lineman Christian Westerman. Searels has experience with recruiting nationally, but believes Texas can serve as an adequate ground for recruiting.

“One of the things that really attracted me [to Texas] was the talent pool in the state of Texas. I think you can get everything you need in the state of Texas,” Searels said. “If there is a great player somewhere else and Coach [Brown] wants me to go recruit him, I’ll be glad to. I want the best players in the country to play here, and you would prefer to have them in the state of Texas.”


Mack Brown finally found his man.

Texas filled its final coaching staff vacancy yesterday, naming Stacy Searels as offensive line coach.

Searels spent the past three seasons as the offensive line coach for Georgia.
“When you’re in this profession, you want to coach at the highest level,” Searels said in a statement. “From afar, I had always been interested in the University of Texas because I thought it was one of the premiere jobs in the country.”

Searels replaces Mac McWhorter, who retired in December after seven seasons at Texas.

“I have admired [Searels’] work as a coach for many years,” Brown said. “He has a great deal of respect around the country, and he has developed some of the best offensive lines in the nation.”

Searels brings a great pedigree and a wealth of knowledge about the offensive line to Texas. Before coaching at Georgia, Searels served as the offensive line coach for LSU from 2003-2006, where he won a national championship in 2003. While at LSU, Searels coached two All-American offensive linemen and five that went on to make NFL rosters.

In his playing days, Searels was a three-year starter as an offensive lineman at Auburn. He blocked for Heisman Trophy winner Bo Jackson in 1986 and earned First Team All-America honors as a senior in 1987.

While he may have started his college football career in the SEC, Searels said the talent and leadership at Texas was what tempted him to stray.

“Georgia was a very tough place to leave, but Texas is one of those few places that I knew if they called, I had to look into it,” Searels said. “At the end of the day, the opportunity here was just too much to pass up.”