KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE)- There will be a new face under center for the Sevier County Smoky Bears this season. Head coach Todd Loveday looks to 6-5 junior signal-caller Christian Hoffman to replace Collin Shannon, one of the best quarterbacks in program history.

“He throws the ball really hard,” said outside linebacker Bryson Lane. “He’s getting better, a lot faster than we expected him to.”

Loveday said Hoffman is very coachable and knows how to get rid of the ball fast, however, expect to see Sevier County run the ball more with an improved offensive line.

“We really like our backs and our offensive line is coming together really well,” said Loveday.

Sevier County returns 8 starters on defense who have played together since peewee football. Loveday believes the team’s defense will be the Smoky Bears’ strength this season.

“We have a saying, ‘Just do it right,’ since we’re sponsored by Nike. We just try to do everything right and come together as a team and do our best every game,” said middle linebacker Stephen Cain.

Sevier County is coming off of a 7-4 season with a berth in the first round of the playoffs. The team looks to build off of that mark starting on Thursday, August 18 when the Bears host Jefferson County. The kick-off is set for 7 P.M.