Towson coach Rob Ambrose has 'no worries' about QB Connor Frazier starting in FCS title game

With starter Athens nursing injured shoulder, Ambrose expresses confidence in Frazier's ability

December 27, 2013|By Edward Lee, The Baltimore Sun

The Towson football team will practice Friday night for the first time since Christmas, and there is considerable uncertainty over whether senior quarterback Peter Athens will be able to participate.

If he can’t, sophomore Connor Frazier figures to take most of the reps with the first-team offense, and coach Rob Ambrose said coaches and players are very confident in his ability to lead the No. 7 seed Tigers. Frazier would be making his first career start against No. 1 seed and reigning back-to-back national champion North Dakota State in the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision title game on Jan. 4 at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Tex.

“I have no worries about that whatsoever,” Ambrose said Friday afternoon during a conference call. “If Connor is at the reins, there’s not a problem, and if Pete’s at the reins, there’s not a problem. The way we structure practice and the way we’ve worked at this for the least however many months, while we would change a little bit on how we would put Connor in the best position to be successful, there’s no concern whatsoever on mine or anybody else’s part.”

Ambrose did not have much information regarding the status of Athens, who injured his right (throwing) shoulder late in the second quarter of Saturday’s semifinal against No. 3 seed Eastern Washington and sat out the entire second half.

“Peter Athens is in the training room as we speak,” Ambrose said. “He is with our trainers and our doctors. So I bet in about 40 minutes, I’ll know a little more than I did right now.”

With Athens on the sideline, Frazier completed six of 10 passes for 98 yards and rushed 18 times for 98 yards and scored the game-winning touchdown in Towson’s 35-31 win over the Eagles. Ambrose acknowledged that Frazier’s dual-threat ability alters what the offense had done under Athens, who is more of a traditional pocket passer.

“It’s not a complete overhaul, but what we’ve done here historically is play to the skill sets of our players, and we do our darndest to put them in the greatest position to be successful as possible,” Ambrose said. “Peter’s clearly a very, very talented passer, an accurate passer and a very good leader. Connor is a very good leader, very athletic and a pretty good passer. So should that come down to a decision between the two of those in how we game-plan, we’ll do our best to put them in the best position possible.”

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