JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) – The final countdown to the 2023 Bucs football season is on, with just ten days and ticking until the Blue and Gold meet Jacksonville State on September 2.

As announced over the weekend, redshirt junior Tyler Riddell will be back in control of the offense on the field as the starting quarterback. On the sideline, head coach George Quarles will take a more direct responsibility for the play calling this season.

Without a designated offensive coordinator, Quarles has made a few minor tweaks on that side of the ball that have been evident in the first two scrimmages.

First and foremost, more designed quarterback runs are on the menu.

“There’s a lot of options, you know, zone read stuff,” he said on Saturday. “On the backside of it, if somebody squeezes, the quarterback can pull it and run.”

“I just think it makes us a little tougher to defend,” he continued.

The overall tempo of the offense seems to be picking up, as well, in certain situations. But, Riddell the Blue and Gold have the ability to push the speed even more.

“I think just being able to go quicker,” he said. “I think we take a while to get lined up and get plays going. But we’re doing a real good job of understanding what we want to get out of certain plays.”

“I would say just, you know, just keep trusting the process,” senior wideout Einaj Carter said. “When things get hard – obviously, things are going to get hard. Just keep trusting the process, keep pushing, you know, take it one week at a time.”

The Bucs ran 715 offensive plays last season, which ranked second-to-last in the Southern Conference a season ago, in front of only Wofford.