ATHENS, Ga. — For all the injuries this season for Georgia, the offensive line has been relatively stable.
Offensive line coach Will Friend used only three different starting combinations this season.
Left tackle Kenarious Gates, center David Andrews and right guard Chris Burnette started every game. Left guard Dallas Lee started all but one.
Even right tackle became more settled with John Theus starting for the past six games, with Kolton Houston rotating in behind him.
Change, though, is coming.
Seniors Gates, Burnette and Lee will be departing after the Jan. 1 Gator Bowl against Nebraska.
“I have a lot of faith in the guys, the ability to replace some of the guys that we lose,” Theus said. “I think people will question just because there will be some new faces, but I know us as a line have faith in the guys who will be stepping up. … We might surprise a few people next year.”
Theus said coaches haven’t toyed with different line combinations during bowl practices like they might in the spring.
“We’re kind of still in that 2013 mode,” said Theus, who will be a junior next season.
The left side of the line will undergo the most change.
Theus, Houston or rising senior Mark Beard could replace Gates at the pivotal left tackle spot, with either Theus or Houston manning right tackle. Theus, a former five-star recruit, worked at left tackle some last spring.
Burnette expects Watts Dantzler, also a rising senior, to step in at right guard for him.
Brandon Kublanow, who got increased playing time as a freshman, could replace Lee at left guard.
No Georgia offensive linemen made The Associated Press or coaches All-Southeastern Conference team this year, but the Bulldogs ranked fifth in the conference for fewest sacks allowed with 18 and were part of an offense that averaged 489.8 yards a game.
“There were some moments where we got whipped individually, but game in and game out they came to play, they fought hard, they knew what to do,” coach Mark Richt said. “They created the space and the time that the quarterback needed and they created the space the backs needed to get started. I’m proud of the job they’ve done.”