The Tar Heels are preparing to start spring practice on Tuesday and now they must do so without one of their position coaches.
Earlier this morning, On3 Sports reported that offensive line coach Stacy Searels will be taking the same job with the Georgia Bulldogs. Inside Carolina also released the news earlier today and did announce that current Director of the Koman Game Plan for Success, Kevin Donnalley, will take on the role until the team can find a replacement.
Searels‘ loss is one that Tar Heel fans seem to have mixed feelings about. On the one hand, the team’s offense had a lot of overall success in his three seasons with the team, as they averaged more than 465 total yards per game and 33 points per game in each of those years. However, in the three seasons, the Tar Heels have allowed 261 tackles for loss and 120 sacks, never ranking better than 111th in any of the three seasons in those two categories.
The big issue for the Tar Heels here is the timing. Many fans had gotten behind the idea of moving on from Searels this offseason, but had come to terms with the fact that he was coming back and was working with guys who he had exclusively recruited. Now, just one day before the beginning of spring practice, Searels is heading for Athens and leaving the Tar Heels with an important hole to fill while they should be preparing to try to fix an offensive line unit that has a lot of work to do to get where they need to be.
The good news is that Donnalley has been in a similar sort of situation before. Back in 2015, while part of the UNC-Charlotte staff, he was thrusted into the offensive line coach role for the Niners when the team’s prior coach, Phil Ratliff, unexpectedly passed away. Clearly this is a much easier situation to take over, but this does show that Donnalley is capable of being put in this sort of situation.
The Tar Heels will be forced to adjust quickly now, as they open spring camp tomorrow and look to put the 2021 season behind them.