COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) — Randy Edsall is delighted, and not at all surprised, to see former assistant and good friend Rob Ambrose enjoying success as the head coach football at Towson.
On Saturday, however, Edsall intends to make life miserable for Ambrose and his unbeaten Tigers. Edsall will be on the Maryland sideline when the Terrapins (1-2) seek to rebound from last week’s embarrassing 38-7 loss at home against Temple. It’s the first meeting between Maryland and neighboring Towson, an FCS school on the rise under the leadership of Ambrose.
Ambrose left Connecticut for Towson in January 2009 after a seven-year run as Edsall’s assistant. Serving first as quarterbacks coach and then as offensive coordinator, Ambrose helped Edsall build UConn from a Division I-AA program into an FBS powerhouse.
“Rob is a very good football coach,” Edsall said this week. “You can see he’s gone through the pains and the tribulations of putting a program together there at Towson and trying to instill all the things he wants his program to be. This year they’re starting to reap the benefits of he and his coaching staff’s hard work, in terms of what they want from that program.”
The Tigers have throttled Morgan State (42-3), Villanova (31-10) and Colgate (42-10). Maryland represents a sizable step up in competition, in spite of what happened last week.
“Anybody wants to say anything about Temple, I’ve seen Temple on film twice now, and I’ll tell you, if I was still coaching at Connecticut I wouldn’t want to play them,” Ambrose said.
“Maryland ran into a buzz saw with them. I know Randy, and those guys are going to be amped up, ready to play and be extremely excited to see us walk into the stadium.”
Ambrose is deep into the process of putting his stamp on the long-suffering Towson program. Even though Edsall inherited a team that excelled last year, he’s acknowledged that it might take some before the Terrapins start seeing things his way.
“I’m trying to find out about these guys,” he said.
Maryland opened with a 32-24 win over Miami, but Edsall was disappointed in the team’s lack of emotion in losses to West Virginia and Temple. Against the Mountaineers, Maryland trailed 27-10 at halftime. Against Temple, it was 21-0 after the first quarter.
“I’m trying to figure out why we are starting so slow,” Edsall said. “We need to come out and play with energy.”
Losing to Temple by 31 points is humiliating enough, but a slip up against Tigers would be an absolute disaster.
“If we don’t play in the beginning of the game, we can lose,” senior linebacker Kenny Tate said. “It’s going to be a test for us coming up this week.”
It’s the first road game of the season for Towson, but at least the Tigers don’t have to travel far.
“The great thing is, it’s right down the road,” Ambrose said. “We actually get to stay in the state of Maryland. We just move venues; the attitude doesn’t change. We’ll treat it like a home game pretty much.”
It’s Maryland’s fourth straight home game, but Ambrose expects to have a decent gathering of Towson fans in Bryd Stadium.
“I have no doubt that we will travel well,” he said. “There’s something that has been going on here, something that’s been building for quite a while. It’s not a finished product, but there is a new sense of pride here. It is a great time to be a Tiger.”
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)