Sanders named thrid starting QB for Buccaneers

By Matt Hill
STAR STAFF
mhill@starhq.com

   JOHNSON CITY-- Paul Hamilton's flavor of the week this week: Jatavis Sanders.
   That's who the East Tennessee State head coach plans to go with at quarterback Saturday night when the Bucs open up Southern Conference play against VMI.
   That is if Sanders has recovered from a bruised arm that he suffered in ETSU's 13-10 loss to Gardner-Webb last Saturday night.
   Sanders suffered the injury right before the lightning delay, but was looking sharp before the unfortunate incident.
   Sanders finished the night 10-of-12 for 114 yards through the air, while Dashannon Gamble and Jason Davis combined to complete only two passes on the evening.
   "I really felt like Jatavis was playing good," Hamilton said. "He really played a good game Saturday night. He graded out 90 percent. He had two option reads that he was correct on. And I really felt like we had a chance if he continued to play that way to win the game Saturday night. Unfortunately, he got hurt and he wasn't able to lift his arm up and play the back half of the football game.
   Hamilton's going to take it day by day with Sanders this week. But if he's healthy, Sanders will become the third different quarterback to start for the Bucs this season.
   "If Jatavis can throw this week in practice, I feel like that through the first three non-conference games it's obvious he's been around college football and been on the field and played more," Hamilton said. "And with the youth of our offense right now, I think we need that maturity that he brings.
   "He's handling situations as far as negative things that happen to us, positive things that happen to us, he's handling it with an even-keel. And that's what we need.
   It's been a merry-go-round with the quarterbacks so far during what is becoming a horrible season for the Buccaneers. Gamble started at N.C. State, Davis started against Mars Hill, then Gamble got the call again at Gardner-Webb last week.
   Hamilton says he understands the fans' frustration over the whole matter.
   "I'm sure it's frustrating to our fans," Hamilton said. "It's been frustrating somewhat to me. I think it's a matter of really trying to see somebody step up and do something that shows you beyond a shadow of a doubt that 'hey this is the guy'. I kept looking and hoping that maybe that would be the case. And I think the key for us at quarterback is maturity, and that's where I hope Jatavis can come on. You look at the young guys we're putting on the field, and we've got to get that maturity factor from the quarterback position.
   Hamilton has definitely struggled with making up his mind, but it looks like he's ready to stick by Sanders.
   "I'm going to give it to Jatavis," Hamilton said. "I talked to him the other day about it. This is what he had hoped for, and what he came here to do. He's a senior this year, I know how bad he wants this football team to win. And I really think he's close to handling it."