McClendon to Lean on Searels

McClendon to Lean on Searels

ATHENS - Bryan McClendon will be the youngest position coach in the SEC next season, but he won't be without a veteran coach to lean on.

MEN AT WORK

Offensive line coach Stacy Searels was given the title of running game coordinator after a dalliance with Auburn in December, taking some of the load off McClendon, who is in his first season as Georgia's running backs coach.

It's a relationship McClendon said will help the team, and he isn't concerned about the two coaches stepping on each others' toes once the games begin.

"Stacy's done a great job of helping with the running game ever since he stepped foot on this campus doing stuff that gives us a better chance to do in the run game," McClendon said. "I'm really thrilled that he's been able to get that position, but I don't think it's going to change too much."

THE WAITING GAME

Tight end Bruce Figgins said he's feeling better, but the padded sling he's forced to wear to protect his surgically repaired shoulder is still getting on his nerves.

A Wednesday visit to the doctor was another step in his path to recovery, but Figgins still doesn't plan to see much action for a while. He won't participate in spring practice sessions, and his offseason workouts have been limited to lower-body work so far.

"It's a lot of film study and making sure I'm prepared mentally and getting stronger in doing what I can do until my shoulder is stronger," Figgins said.

Figgins may not see much action this spring, but he said he fully expects to play a big role by the time fall practice begins in August. In fact, he's hoping to be ready for the start of summer conditioning in June.

"That's what I'm trying to prepare for, being able to go full speed then," he said.

TAKING THE LEAD

When Georgia's defense struggled down the stretch in 2008, the Bulldogs had the luxury of offensive stars Knowshon Moreno and Matthew Stafford to help bail them out. With both players headed to the NFL, however, linebacker Darryl Gamble said this year the defense expects to assume the burden of keeping the team afloat in close games.

"It's going to rely a lot more on the defense this year because we've lost two good offensive players," Gamble said. "People are going to look at us to pick up the slack that they left off on the defensive side of the ball. We've got the talent. It's just going to be up to us whether we do it or not."

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