Most football coaches would be troubled if their teams fell into deep, first-quarter holes in back-to-back games. Rob Ambrose is clearly not like most coaches.
No. 3 Towson has scored 35-21 and 44-28 victories over Stony Brook and No. 19 New Hampshire in the past two weeks, but neither came easily. The Tigers (6-0 overall, 2-0 Colonial Athletic Association) had to overcome first-quarter deficits of 14-0 to the Seawolves (2-3, 1-2) and 20-3 to the Wildcats (1-3, 0-1).
That might seem distressing, but Ambrose hardly sounded concerned after the team beat New Hampshire.
“I would like to score every time we touch the ball. I would love to do this,” he said. “But the true greatness of the game is not rolling people. It’s having to work to be successful, to earn the right to win. The fact that we get to play in the heat, in the cold, in the snow, we get to play teams that are bigger than us, we get to play all over the country and ride buses home, that’s the greatness of the game. That’s how the human spirit grows. Besides, aren’t you guys having fun? This is high-entertainment dollar.”
The Tigers responded Saturday by running off 41 unanswered points. But while the first-quarter malaise did not cost Towson, even Ambrose understood the bullet the team had dodged.
“When we decided to spot them 14 points again, that’s not really a smart thing to do,” he said. “But it’s an object lesson in handling adversity. I know I’ve said this a couple times probably in the last two weeks, but there’s never been a game that’s been won on a play. It’s never won on one play, it’s never won in one quarter, and it’s never won in a half. It’s 60 minutes, an entire game. Sometimes, it’s even longer than that, and it’s your ability to do it right and do it together and stay true to yourself that gets you those wins. I’m just proud of these guys, that they see adversity as something to overcome, not something to keep you down.”
Even after more questions from reporters about the Tigers' habit of falling behind, Ambrose did not budge.
“It is what it is,” he said. “I’ll say it over again: It’s not about the problem, it’s about the solution. I have yet to see anybody play four quarters of perfect football in the history of football. I’m not worried about it at all. I’m worried about how we finish.”