Football Prepares for Liberty
Football Prepares for Liberty
Wednesday, August 30, 2000

ETSU vs. Liberty

Williams Stadium - Lynchburg, Va.

September 2, 2000 - 7 p.m.

Winning Season ... ETSU is playing for its third winning season in the past four years ... The Bucs finished last season 6-5 and went 7-4 in 1997 -- head coach Paul Hamiltons first campaign ... If the Bucs finish above .500 in 2000 it would be the fourth time in the past five years they accomplished the feat.

Season Openers ... The Bucs are 39-35-3 all-time in season openers ... They are 12-9 since joining the SoCon in 1979 and 6-4 in their last 10 ... Coach Hamilton is 2-1 in season openers ... Last fall the Bucs opened the season with a 28-10 win against The Citadel in the Mini-Dome on Sept. 2 ... The last time ETSU opened its season with Liberty was 1997 when the Bucs advanced to the quarterfinals of the NCAA playoffs ... The Bucs defeated the 14th-ranked Flames 24-20 in Memorial Center.

In Todd We Trust ... For the fourth consecutive season, the Bucs will look to Todd Wells as their offensive general ... Wells, the 1997 SoCon Freshman of the Year, led the Bucs in passing (115.6/game) and total offense (123.8/game) in 1999.

Pre-Season Honors ... Three Buc players earned preseason All-Southern Conference honors ... Seniors Rahim El Amin (linebacker), Terrance Sims (kick returner) and Denario Smalls (defensive back) earned the distinction ... Following last season, three Buccaneer players earned All-Conference honors: Jim Beverly (center), Derek Fudge (linebacker) and Kevin Peterson (linebacker).

On the Road ... The Bucs are 5-10 on the road since Coach Hamilton took over in 1997 ... ETSU was 1-4 away from the Mini-Dome last fall ... The last time the Bucs opened a season on the road was in 1998 when the Miami Hurricanes swamped the visitors 66-17 ... East Tennessee State hasnt won a season opener on the road since September 2, 1989 when the Bucs defeated VMI 17-16.

Linebacker U? ... East Tennessee State hopes to have an All-America linebacker for the fourth consecutive season ... each of the last four years the Bucs have enjoyed a stellar linebacking corps ... gone from last years squad are two-time All-America Kevin Peterson (1998-99) and All-Southern Conference player Derek Fudge ... taking over in the middle this year is All-America candidate Rahim El Amin and All-Southern Conference candidate Cory Bolden ... linebacker Mario Hankerson earned All-America honors in 1997.

Leader of the Ship ... Fourth-year head coach Paul Hamilton enters this season with a 17-16 (.515) career record ... The 17 wins in his first three years makes Hamilton the winningest coach in that span in Buc history ... Hamilton is ETSUs 16th head coach.

Last Season vs. Liberty ... In front of 8,467 Homecoming fans in Memorial Center, the Bucs defeated Liberty 24-12 (Oct. 16) to improve to 5-1 on the season ... Todd Wells threw for 118 yards on 14-of-20 passing ... All three of ETSUs touchdowns came on the ground, with Scott Carter crossing the goal line first, followed by two Brandon Walker scores ... ETSU gained 225 yards on 43 carries ... The Bucs led 14-6 at halftime.

1999 Recap ... After opening the season 4-0 and reaching a #13 ranking in the ESPN/USA Today Poll, the Bucs traveled to Boone and dropped a heart-breaking 23-19 decision to Appalachian State ... ETSU rebounded with a 24-12 win against Liberty and on October 18 reached its highest ranking of No. 12 ... The Bucs lost their next three games before rebounding with a win against Chattanooga, 28-14, in the home finale ... The 1999 season concluded with a 24-7 loss at Division I-A Middle Tennessee State.

Freshman Phenoms ... As the preseason has progressed, the Buccaneer coaching staff has become more and more impressed with the freshman class ... It has become apparent that many young players will contribute immediately on the field ... Some of the freshman that are expected to begin their ETSU careers from the opening snap: Corey Carter (fullback); Tim Turner (wide receiver), Tony Tiller (wide receiver) on offense and defensive lineman Brandon Calton and Travis Williams.

In the Southern Conference ... The Bucs are 56-101 (21 seasons) in league games since joining the SoCon in 1979 ... Their best finish was second in 1996 when ETSU finished 7-1 in the league ... ETSU is 27-20 since 1994 and have been above .500 every year except 1998 (3-5) in that span ... The Bucs are 12-12 under Coach Paul Hamilton (1997-99).

Home-Dome Advantage ... ETSU has won eight of its last nine home games ... ETSU is 22-6 during the last five years in the Mini-Dome ... The Bucs went 5-1 last fall, 5-2 in 1998, 3-3 in 1997, 6-1 in 1996 and 4-0 in 1995 ... ETSU is 65-62-1 all time in the Dome.

On the Airwaves ... ETSU football and basketball fans can enjoy game broadcasts on WJCW-AM (910) -- the flagship station of the Buccaneer Radio Network ... Chip Kessler returns as the Voice of the Bucs after leaving the post in 1996 ... The pregame show, College Football Today, will air one hour before game time while the postgame show will run for 30 minutes following the final whistle ... Both shows are hosted by Bill Meade, program director of WJCW.

Buccaneer All-Stars

The Offense

#7 Todd Wells ... An All-Southern Conference candidate ... went 9-13, 179 yards and 1 TD in final scrimmage of presesaon ... regained a step after being slowed by injury and should be a threat on the ground and in the air ... has started at QB since stepping on campus ... earned 1997 SoCon Freshman of the Year.

#37 Terrance Sims ... An All-Southern Conference candidate ... ran for 47 yards on four carries with a one-yard touchdown in Blue/Gold scrimmage ... earned preseason All-Southern Conference honors as a kick returner ... ran for 282 yards on 53 carries (5.3/rush) last fall.

#2 Cecil Moore/#17 Corey Martin ... The Moore/Martin receiver combination could be the most potent in Southern Conference ... in final scrimmage of preseason, Moore made three receptions for 74 yards and two long touchdowns, Martin had four catches for 70 yards ... Martin made 17 catches for 202 yards (11.9/reception) last fall.

Others to watch ... Two Carters will battle for the starting fullback spot ... Scott Carter enjoyed a successful freshman season (67 attempts, 370 yards) while Corey Carter has thoroughly impressed during this preseason ... Offensive linemen Chip Pearson and Victor Hooks will lead the running game ... Wide-out and speed demon Tim Turner made one catch in the final scrimmage -- a 78-yard bomb.

The Defense

#54 Rahim El Amin ... An All-America candidate ... recorded five tackles (one for loss) in final scrimmage of preseason ... moved to inside linebacker after playing defensive end last season ... earned preseason All-Southern Conference honors ... has recorded 177 career tackles ... ranked third on team last fall with 84 tackles.

#12 Cory Bolden ... An All-Southern Conference Candidate ... a powerful run stopper at inside linebacker ... made one tackle in Blue/Gold scrimmage ... had 24 tackles and one interception last season.

#24 Denario Smalls ... An All-Southern Conference Candidate ... the Bucs most consistent cover corner ... earned preseason All-Southern Conference honors ... tied for fourth in SoCon last fall with four interceptions ... also made 66 tackles.

Others to watch ... Safety Ocasio Cofield will start at strong safety after transfering from Kansas University. Cofield is a giant in the secondary (6-3, 220) ... corner Keyandre Fenn teams with Smalls to form one of best corner combos in Conference ... freshman Travis Williams will start at defensive end. Williams is the strongest freshman in program history.