Connor Frazier's versatility has helped backup Towson quarterback contribute in other ways

In addition to lining up under center, sophomore has carried and caught the ball in Tigers' offense

December 20, 2013|By Edward Lee, The Baltimore Sun

When senior Peter Athens beat out sophomore Connor Frazier in the preseason to become the starting quarterback for the Towson football team, Frazier became the No. 2 guy on the depth chart. But that’s not all he is.

Frazier has lined up as a running back, H-back and wide receiver this season. And as the No. 7 seed Tigers (12-2) prepare to face No. 3 seed Eastern Washington (12-2) in NCAA Division I Football Championship semifinal this Saturday, Frazier is prepared to fill any role necessary.

“I view myself as a quarterback, but I need to play other positions to help the team out,” the Gaithersburg native said Tuesday. “If they want to put me somewhere else, I definitely want to do it and be on the field in any way that I can to help the team out. I’ll do it.”

This season, Frazier has completed three of four passes for 43 yards, carried the ball 20 times for 114 yards and one touchdown, and caught four passes for 62 yards and one score.

Head coach Rob Ambrose said Frazier’s understanding of the offense lends himself to positional versatility.

“The quarterback, he’s the guy that knows everything,” Ambrose said. “He knows every moving part on the offense, and Connor at a very young age has been able to do that very, very well. So with guys getting hurt and guys getting injured, especially at the wideout position,instead of just saying, ‘Woe is me,’ we have an offensive staff, and the guys are smart and they’re asking, ‘What pieces do we have and how can we best use them?’ Connor is intelligent, he’s athletic, he can throw, he can catch and he’s a football player. He’s tough as nails. The goal is to put the best 11 on the field at all times, and when guys go down, Connor is one of the best 11, and he’s extremely versatile. So we’ll keep finding interesting ways to use his talents for the benefit of all.”

Frazier was especially instrumental in Towson’s 49-39 upset of No. 2 seed Eastern Illinois in last Saturday’s quarterfinal. He rushed the ball five times for 40 yards and scored on a 4-yard scamper that helped the team tie the score at 14-14 in the second quarter after the Panthers had jumped out to an early 14-0 advantage.

“It was a great feeling to make a contribution and tie the game up, especially after we went down 14-0,” Frazier said. “We knew we weren’t out of the game. I think we were in the second quarter when we got our first touchdown. So there were still three quarters of football left to play, and we’re always fighting back. We didn’t give up and T-West [junior running back Terrance West] scored on that first possession in the second quarter.”

At 6-foot and 200 pounds, Frazier is solidly built, but having him carry the ball and run routes would seem to put him in harm’s way and jeopardize Athens’ primary backup. But Ambrose said Frazier is too valuable to leave out of the game plan.

“What are we going to save him for? How much we got left?” Ambrose asked rhetorically. “You figure there’s only 160 offensive snaps left to play [this season]. I’m not saving it all for the last swing.”

For his part, Frazier said he isn’t concerned about possible injury.

“I don’t realty think about that,” he said. “I just think, ‘How can I get on the field to help the team out and win this year?’”

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