COLUMBUS - Through the many changes to Georgia's roster and coaching staff since Mark Richt took over in 2001, there had been one constant: Mike Bobo. The former Bulldog quarterback was part of Richt's first staff in 2001, hired to coach his old position. In 2007, he was promoted to offensive coordinator and handed the play-calling duties.
Since that time, Bobo molded it into a prolific unit. In 2012, they set a school-record for touchdowns (72). In 2013, the Bulldogs followed that up by compiling 6,294 yards of total offense and scoring 58 touchdowns. And this past season, they led the SEC in scoring (and established a single-season school-best in the process) at 41.7 points per game.
But now, Bobo is gone, hired in December to become Colorado State's next coach.
And Richt admitted Friday it's "different" not having Bobo around anymore.
"Mike did a wonderful job here at Georgia and we appreciate everything he did," Georgia's coach said during an appearance at the Minority Coaches Association of Georgia clinic. "He got a great opportunity to become a head coach at a great university, so we're proud of him, happy for him. Now it's a matter of getting acclimated to (new offensive coordinator) Coach (Brian) Schottenheimer, the way he likes to operate. It's been an exciting time, but certainly we appreciate what Mike did while he was here."
Thus far, Richt has liked what he's seen from Schottenheimer.
"He's a sharp guy, a guy that knows his ball," Richt said. "But he's also a guy that has the right type of personality to coach the college game, to recruit the college level. We're just real thankful we got him."
His first order of business will be finding the Bulldogs' next quarterback. After Aaron Murray held down the spot from 2010-13, Georgia is looking for a new quarterback for a second straight season. The favorite to win the job is third-year sophomore Brice Ramsey, who saw time in Georgia's Belk Bowl victory against Louisville after starter Hutson Mason left with a concussion just before halftime.
Ramsey stayed in for the remainder of the contest, finishing 4-for-9 for 51 yards and an interception.
So while Ramsey likely enters the spring with a slight edge in the competition, redshirt freshman Jacob Park and fourth-year junior Faton Bauta — and perhaps even walk-on Sam Vaughn — will get a look, too.
When asked about the quarterback battle Friday, Richt didn't get into any specifics.
He just knew the Bulldogs have a long road ahead of them.
"It's just a lot of work to be done between now and that first game and a lot of competition to happen," he said. "You know, the quarterback position is as wide-open as it's ever been since I've been at Georgia probably. It's going to be an interesting battle I would say."