And then there were none.
Mark Richt is entering his 15th spring practice as Georgia's football coach, and he no longer has any assistants who were on his inaugural staff in 2001. Mike Bobo, the quarterbacks coach who added play-calling duties and the role of offensive coordinator late in the 2006 season, was the last to depart, accepting the head-coaching position at Colorado State in late December.
Replacing Bobo is Brian Schottenheimer, whose most recent stints were as offensive coordinator of the St. Louis Rams and the New York Jets.
"If the staff doesn't change at all, you're still going to visit somebody to learn new ideas to stay on top of what's going on out there," Richt said. "When you change staff, then you have guys that live in house who maybe you would go visit, so you have that chance to exchange ideas and have it all come together to where it makes the most sense for us."
Richt's Bulldogs begin their first Bobo-less spring this afternoon and have set their G-Day game for April 11 at 2 p.m.
Schottenheimer isn't the only newcomer to Georgia's offensive staff, as former Bulldogs running back Thomas Brown returns to his alma mater to guide his familiar position now headlined by sophomore Nick Chubb. The hiring of Brown shifted Bryan McClendon's responsibilities from running backs to receivers, and Rob Sale is the new offensive line coach.
Sale replaces Will Friend, who is now Bobo's offensive coordinator at CSU, so Georgia's only offensive assistant in the same role as last year is tight ends coach John Lilly.
Here are five storylines concerning the Bulldogs this spring:
GETTING TO KNOW YOU
Mike Bobo was Mark Richt's right-hand man for forever, but now it is Brian Schottenheimer's show offensively.
Schottenheimer is of the pro-style variety but has come in with his own suggestions.
"It's a little bit of a melting pot as far as ideas from different people," Richt said. "There are ideas he has brought in and things that we have done in the past, and I'm not going to sit here and say it's 100 percent exactly the same verbiage that we had a year ago, but as far as the things that we're doing, it married up very well.
"We may call a blocking formation a little bit different here and there, but it's not a change so much with the blocking scheme itself."
Richt has compared this spring offensively to last spring defensively, when coordinator Jeremy Pruitt and three assistants comprised the first defensive staff overhaul in Athens since Vince Dooley's first season in 1964.
"Everybody on defense had an opportunity to prove what they could do," Richt said. "You guys always want to know the depth chart, but sometimes it's just too hard to determine that because there are so many guys getting opportunities at quality reps."
Hutson Mason did not throw many home run balls last season as a fifth-year senior quarterback, but his efficiency went a long way in guiding the Bulldogs to a 10-3 record and a No. 9 ranking. Mason threw for 21 touchdowns and just four interceptions, but he will now be replaced by redshirt sophomore Brice Ramsey, redshirt junior Faton Bauta or redshirt freshman Jacob Park.
Ramsey replaced an injured Mason during December's 37-14 Belk Bowl rout of Louisville, completing 4 of 9 passes for 51 yards and an interception. Richt had named Mason as Aaron Murray's successor last spring, but that's not the case this time around for Ramsey.
Richt is calling the three candidates "1A, 1B and 1C," and he does not feel the need to name a starter this spring.
"They all have things that they're good at," senior left tackle John Theus said. "No matter who comes out of that on top, I think we're going to be all right."
Amarlo Herrera and Ramik Wilson were tackling machines each of the past two seasons as the starting inside linebackers, but they are now NFL draft hopefuls.
Their departures will result in what should be the most intriguing position battles this spring on Pruitt's defense. Juniors Reggie Carter and Tim Kimbrough served as the backups last season to Herrera and Wilson, but the Bulldogs went out and got Jake Ganus and Chuks Amaechi, transfers from UAB and Arizona Western College.
Ganus led the Blazers last season before their program was shut down in December, and he has just one season of eligibility remaining. Amaechi has two.
"We've got some guys who will get some reps, and we'll see how they'll do," Richt said.
THE LEADER UP FRONT
Not only must Georgia replace its starting quarterback but the player who touches the ball before the quarterback.
David Andrews was a three-year starter at center and was effective snapping to Murray and Mason. Senior Hunter Long and sophomore Isaiah Wynn will get the first crack at center on a line that has the other four starters returning.
"The center is a very important guy who makes a lot of decisions at the line of scrimmage," Richt said. "It's a position with a strong leadership role historically, so that's going to be a very important task to be able to get the right guy in there."facebook
Richt's reference to the difficulty of spring depth charts was evidenced in the secondary last year, when Pruitt rotated nearly everybody in and out of first-team duties.
Damian Swann was the only constant as a versatile senior, but Dominick Sanders came in as a freshman last summer and locked up the free safety spot all season. Corey Moore, who started roughly half the games last season as a safety, is out of eligibility, and J.J. Green and Brendan Langley transferred out in December.
The only scholarship defensive backs who preceded Pruitt and have logged significant minutes are junior safety Quincy Mauger and redshirt senior cornerback Devin Bowman, the former Ridgeland High standout.
Bowman will vie for a starting corner role this spring with sophomores Malkom Parrish and Aaron Davis, who were the starters for the Belk Bowl, while Mauger and Sanders are the favorites as starting safeties. A pair of early enrollees from Mississippi, Johnathan Abram and Jarvis Wilson, can expect to rotate around the secondary in upcoming weeks.
Contact David Paschall at email@example.com or 423-757-6524.