The departure of running back Terrance West for the Cleveland Browns was a significant blow to a Towson offense that relied on the Northwestern graduate for 37.1 percent of the team’s total yards and 51.9 percent of its touchdowns last season.
But the graduation of quarterback Peter Athens also left the Tigers with a sizable void, and the team’s quarterbacks didn’t do much in spring workouts to effectively fill that vacancy.
“I was extremely disappointed with our quarterback play this spring,” coach Rob Ambrose said on Thursday at the Colonial Athletic Association football Media Day at M&T Bank Stadium. “It was sporadic, it was poor.”
The transfer of promising junior Ryan Egolf leaves Towson with five candidates including junior Connor Frazier, who scored the game-winning touchdown in the team’s 35-31 victory over third-seeded Eastern Washington in the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision semifinal last Dec. 21.
“Connor Frazier is the lead dog in the clubhouse by a good bit,” Ambrose said. “[Redshirt senior] Joe Brennan is still competing for that job. It’s pretty much a fight between those two guys.
"But we’re going to take a long, hard look at the kid that we brought in as a true freshman, Ellis Knudson. He’s been in summer school and has worked out with the team a little bit. The reports I get from the vets are that the kid is real. And with the quarterback, so goes the team.”
Ambrose said Frazier has an opportunity to seize the position in the preseason.
“This is going to be his time to shine,” Ambrose said. “He looks great. He’s just got to take the bull by the horns and own it, and if he does, I have a lot of confidence in him, and more importantly, the other 10 guys in the huddle have confidence in him.
"You can’t make that up, you can’t teach that, and you can’t force that, but he’s earned it. So if he can stay healthy, I think we’ll be in good shape.”