The only quarterback with starting experience at Tennessee left during spring practice.
Another who spent a year in the program soon followed.
So when Derek Dooley opens his first camp with the Vols next week, the new coach will go to work with a junior-college transfer and a pair of true freshmen at the top of the depth chart - naturally not a situation that generates much envy from his peers.
In the short term, that lack of snaps could be a big problem for UT. But at some point every quarterback has to take his first one, and Dooley will at least be able to oversee the whole process from start to finish.
"All I can say is it's a work in progress," Dooley said last week. "They're young, they're new, and we'll see where it all takes us."
The combination of young and new isn't ideal at the most important position on the field, though the Vols at least have some things to feel good about heading into their first practice on Wednesday.
Matt Simms will enter as the favorite after a productive spring and even better summer, growing into a leadership role and winning over his teammates with his command in the huddle. By his own admission he was learning on the fly during the 15 spring practices, though he's clearly become more comfortable with the offense and the program in the offseason.
Tyler Bray also has impressed with his strong arm, and though there's still room for more weight on his slight frame, the midterm enrollee also has been praised by veteran teammates for his maturity. How fellow freshman Nash Nance fits into the picture remains to be seen since he was a likely candidate for a redshirt until Nick Stephens and Nick Lamaison bolted from UT, but aside from maybe wanting more experience, nobody has had anything negative to offer about the guys that are around now.
"You know, there's a lot of contrast (between Simms and Bray), but they're both really good players," tight end Luke Stocker said. "They both can be special players, they have different personalities but they're both great leaders. We've been running seven-on-seven in our team work all summer, and both of them have been in there getting great reps, just working hard. It's been great.
"(Bray's) got a strong arm, especially for a young kid coming out of high school. You see a guy who's so skinny, you think he must have a lot of accuracy. I don't know about his velocity, but he can sling the ball, now. . . . And naturally, (Simms) is a very good leader, and when he speaks up, everyone kind of stops talking and looks at him. 'OK, what's the quarterback got to say?' Everyone kind of buys into what he's saying."
That influence in the locker room and on the field certainly helps give Simms an edge, and it gives him a great shot at winning the race to start the opener against UT-Martin.
Time will tell if he or Bray keep the job once they get it - but if they don't, Dooley will at least go from having zero quarterbacks with experience to two.
"Now, at the end of the day, neither of them have performed the way I know they're capable of performing because of the newness," Dooley said. "They were thrown right into the fire. They have to grow up quickly. They have to learn the offense quickly. They have to jell with the players on the team quickly.
"So it will be fun to watch both of their progress. I think both of them are extremely talented. They have a great future."
They won't have to wait long to start building for it, either.