Hamilton focused on rest  of season

By Seth Bartee
STAR Correspondent

   On Tuesday, a press conference designed to get ETSU coach Paul Hamilton's view on the upcoming game and a recap of the last, turned into a walk down "what if" lane.
   Hamilton said Tuesday that he was not even looking at other jobs presently. Instead, he wants to focus on ETSU's final season.
   "I am not even considering other jobs now, although I have had offers," said Hamilton. "The most important thing is getting my job done here. It's kind of stressful at my home right now because my family is wondering where the next paycheck will come from."
   Hamilton had some positive news about one team member whose performance this year has been star-studded.
   Cornerback Tony Tiller has been selected to play in the Las Vegas All American Classic on January 17, 2004. Tiller is still injured and probably will not play this weekend. The last thing on Tiller's mind is staying hurt after his career at ETSU. He has bigger plans.
   "I have not really talked much with any particular scouts lately," said Tiller when asked about NFL prospects. "It's too early to get a feel on the scouts they do a lot of evaluating in the all-star games.
   "It's good to have goals. They (scouts) watch what you do when nobody's watching. They want to see what your mentality is when no one is around."
   Tiller isn't the only player possibly out for the season. On defense, the Bucs may have lost senior, defensive end, Travis Williams. Williams is eighth on the team in total tackles and has started most of his four year career. Brock Pittman, outside linebacker, is done for the season with shoulder problems.
   "We are putting up a banged up team on the field Saturday," said Hamilton. "I'm proud of the way this team continues to compete."
   This Saturday ETSU faces No. 5 Wofford on the road. The Terriers (8-1, 6-0 SoCon) have already clinched at least a tie for its first SoCon title. They look to capture the outright championship and the league's automatic bid to the Division I-AA playoffs when it hosts the Buccaneers this Saturday.
   "I'm proud of the way Mike Ayers has stuck with Wofford," said Hamilton of Wofford's long trek to improvement. "When I was down their with Ayers we turned an 0-10 team to 5-5 in one season.
   Hamilton said he thought Wofford was successful because of several aspects of their program.
   "They have great recruiting and scholarships to give out," he said. "We only have 34 this season and only 29 are full rides. They have enhanced facilities and just a different group of players than they have 7 or 8 years ago."
   During the Terriers' eight-game winning streak, they have outscored opponents 274-87. The defense is only allowing 81.9 yards and 292 yards total offense. Wofford only loss was its first against the Air Force 49-0. Since that it has not lost a game and beat Division I-AA powerhouses like Georgia Southern, Appy St., and the Citadel in their last game 42-16.
   Hamilton answered why he did not start Michael George before last week. Some were asking why George had not been the man to run the option instead of Scott Butler.
   "Michael did not know anything when he came to practice with us," Hamilton said. "We had to teach him everything and he caught on quickly enough and we decided to start him. George will be starting this week against Wofford."
   Hamilton said when he came to ETSU he asked two questions.
   "I asked who we played and what our recruiting budget was," he said. "It's hard to compete with teams like Georgian Southern who have 63 scholarships and have the Hope scholarship along with that.
   "I have stayed some my son could start at Science Hill (Hamilton's son has graduated now). I was not going to pull him away from there to another school.
   "The truth is in our situation we have to be pretty perfect every game."
   ETSU plays at Wofford at 1:30 p.m. in Gibbs Stadium; Spartanburg, S.C. Hamilton served as Wofford's offensive coordinator during Ayers' first two seasons (1988-89).