With a 24-17 win at Delaware on Saturday, Towson heads into its bye week with some momentum. The victory was the team's first in the Colonial Athletic Association this fall, and it ended a three-game losing streak.
But to coach Rob Ambrose, the most important benefit of a weekend off is the opportunity for a weary Tigers squad (3-5 overall and 1-3 in the Colonial Athletic Association) to rest and recover.
"I don't think there are many teams in America that could have used a bye at this time like we could," he said Monday during a conference call arranged by the league. "We've got a whole lot of healing to do. I can tell you a year ago, up 31-17 with a couple minutes to go [and] playing the exact same team before a bye, one thought we were going to have a very enjoyable bye week, but that didn't work out very well [in a 32-31 loss to the Blue Hens on Nov. 2, 2013]. This year, it's an entirely different feeling in the fieldhouse. Beating Delaware -- and especially under the circumstances we're in right now -- it's a big deal. It's a big day here."
Injuries have plagued Towson this season. Nine different players have started along the offensive line, and the offense has used seven fullbacks. The defense has used four different starters at inside linebacker and one of the outside linebacker positions and six different starters along the four-man defensive front.
Aside from the injuries, Ambrose said the team will use the bye week to address certain areas that have caught the coaching staff's attention.
"We've done a really poor job defensively keeping [opposing offenses] contained in the last three weeks," he said. "We did a little bit better job on Saturday, but not good enough. We did do a tremendously better job of getting to the quarterback, putting pressure on him. Whether or not he was completing [passes], we were harassing him consistently, and we played better coverage defense. So I think if we can keep making strides that way, we'll be in good shape.
"I was pleased with what we did on teams. Offense is week to week. It's going to be who we play versus who we've got left and how we can put them in the best positions to be successful. I just think we're going to do that again. We're going to take whatever we've got left and try to get a good outcome for these kids."