Charleston Southern foundation in place under Tucker

(STATS) - A new coaching staff hasn't meant Charleston Southern is making big changes during spring practice, which concludes Thursday.

Coach Mark Tucker was the Buccaneers' quarterbacks coach the last four years under former coach Jamey Chadwell, and that includes 35 wins and the last two Big South championships.

"We need to lock ourselves back into what already exists," Tucker said.

The Bucs' fierce defensive front seven, featuring defensive end Anthony Ellis and linebackers Solomon Brown and Zane Cruz, has appeared in midseason form during the spring, which hasn't made it easy on an offense that is still jelling.

Shane Bucenell is the returning starter at quarterback, with London Johnson and Robert Mitchell backing him up.

"We're putting a little bit more on our quarterbacks to see if they can handle it," Tucker said. "So far, if you want to equate it to the college curriculum, we're at about sophomore level. They're handling it very well. Relative to FCS, we're really good up front (defensively), so it's a challenge. If we can respond well and it builds what I personally and we as a staff want it to build - competition on both sides of the ball - then we're gonna be just fine."

Instead of an official spring game, Charleston Southern held two scrimmages, with the defense holding the upper hand each time. But redshirt freshman Elijah Henry has looked impressive as the Bucs look to retool at running back.

The Bucs finished 7-4 last season and No. 15 in the STATS FCS Top 25.

They will kick off the Tucker era with a Sept. 2 visit to Mississippi State.

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide - from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Seth Davis, and more - delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.