Georgia begins spring practice with new offensive leadership

Georgia begins spring practice with new offensive leadership

March 18th, 2015 by David Paschall in Sports - College

New Georgia offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer answers questions during a news conference Friday in Athens, Ga., in this file photo.

Photo by Associated Press /Times Free Press.

The Georgia Bulldogs held their first of 15 spring football practices Tuesday, with senior right tackle Kolton Houston working for a new coordinator and a new position coach.

Georgia's offense is now under the direction of Brian Schottenheimer, who was hired in January to replace Mike Bobo. Colorado State hired Bobo as its new head coach in late December, and Bobo's first move was to swipe Bulldogs offensive line coach Will Friend as his offensive coordinator.

Rob Sale, who played at LSU and coached last season at McNeese State, was hired to replace Friend.

"I would say that we transitioned out of the Bobo and Friend era in January, so it wasn't really a shock to us when we got out there today," Houston said Tuesday night by phone. "We didn't really think about it. Football is football, and we've still got the same system.

"We're not trying to reinvent the wheel, so there wasn't that much to think about."

Georgia's other new assistant is running backs coach Thomas Brown, whose arrival shifted Bryan McClendon to receivers coach. Georgia's receivers coach last season, Tony Ball, is now at LSU.

Thomas Brown

Thomas Brown

Photo by Doug Strickland /Times Free Press.

The Bulldogs worked out in helmets and shorts under sunny skies and temperatures near 80 degrees. Georgia will conduct its pro day today and will hold its second spring practice Thursday.

Richt admitted it was "different" not having Bobo around, but he likes the way the new offensive staff is working and the way the new offensive unit is responding. He was pleased with how much work got done on opening day.

"We absolutely have a long, long way to go, as expected," Richt said, "but I saw a lot of guys out there who were being coachable and teachable. You could tell some guys knew the tempo and some of the new ones looked lost."

Tuesday was the first day for eight early enrollees.

Houston said that Hunter Long took first-team repetitions at center and that left tackle John Theus, left guard Brandon Kublanow and right guard Greg Pyke worked at the same positions as last season. Reporters who attended the allowed portion of Tuesday's practice claimed that Schottenheimer and Sale were far quieter on the field than Bobo and Friend.

"I don't know if quiet is the correct word," Houston said. "Coaches are going to coach, and those guys are both perfectionists. They want us to do exactly what we're told to do."

Tailbacks Nick Chubb, Sony Michel and Brendan Douglas were joined in the backfield by Keith Marshall and A.J. Turman, a pair whose 2014 seasons were derailed by injuries. Marshall, who rushed for 759 yards, 6.5 yards a carry and eight touchdowns as a freshman in 2012, is practicing with no limitations according to Richt.

"Keith Marshall is back," Chubb told reporters. "I'm excited about him having a big year."

Contact David Paschall at or 423-757-6524.