JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) – Late in ETSU football’s Saturday intersquad scrimmage, the first-team offense lined up just outside the redzone.
Redshirt-junior quarterback Tyler Riddell took a shotgun snap with redshirt-freshman running back Amir Dendy to his right. On the snap, Riddell put the ball in the belly of Dendy, but decided to pull it out and keep the ball himself.
Riddell got the edge and scooted in for a 25-yard rushing touchdown.
“I didn’t know T[yler] was a runner until that,” redshirt-senior wideout Will Huzzie chuckled. “Kind of surprised me.”
But, as it turns out, plays like this might become a bit more common in the second year of the Blue and Gold’s offense under head coach George Quarles.
“We’re trying to run the quarterback a little bit more,” he said following Saturday’s scrimmage. “Just trying to – it almost lets you play, you know, with an extra guy on offense and just make us a little bit tougher to defend.”
Last season backup quarterback Baron May converted on a few designed runs, finishing the year with 22 carries for 122 yards and a touchdown. Riddell toted the ball 50 times, gaining 200 yards, but many of those carries were scrambles.
This year the Tampa, Florida native is ready to consistently add another facet to his game and the offense with his legs.
“I’m looking forward to it because it just changes the way defense does things, because now they always have to account for me,” he said. “So, it just makes them harder to guard us and add an element to our offense – it’s something we haven’t really had here. So, it’ll be good for us.”
Riddell believes he is also more physically prepared for the task, as he told reporters Saturday he is up to 194 pounds, after being listed at 183 pounds on the 2022 roster.