For an offense that has mixed good showings with poor outings, Towson needs production where it can get it.
One position that has struggled to be effective for the Tigers (3-5 overall and 1-3 in the Colonial Athletic Association) is the tight end spot. After the departure of James Oboh, the trio of sophomore Tanner Vallely, senior Brendon Gannon (Cardinal Gibbons) and junior Sean Mooney have tried to fill the void.
Vallely has started six of Towson's eight games, catching 10 balls for 100 yards and one touchdown. Mooney has just one reception for 18 yards as he has been plagued by a chronic shoulder ailment, and Gannon is a converted defensive tackle who is more of a blocking tight end and has made one start.
"Tanner Vallely was brought here to be a long snapper and has done a really, really good job," coach Rob Ambrose said Monday during his weekly conference call organized by the league. "He loves football so much that he kind of worked his way into being James Oboh's backup last year. We were counting on Sean Mooney to be that guy, but Sean's had shoulder problems the day he walked into the door, and to be honest, Sean hasn't gotten onto the field that much because of his lack of strength. We moved Brendon Gannon to tight end because of our lack of depth at that position with guys that we had kind of counted on.
"We feel really good about three true freshmen that are sort of hanging out there that we decided we weren't going to break any of their redshirts. I was very pleased with how Brendon Gannon has made the transition. He's really helped us in a number of ways with his size and his strength and his experience. But for having what should have been an All-Conference player and a guy who made it to the [Cleveland] Browns' last cut in preseason camp with James Oboh, it was a big physical drop off for us this year."
"James was a guy who grew every year physically, mentally and emotionally to the point where he had a little bit of leadership ability based on the things he had done," Ambrose said. "He had great feet. James is originally from Africa, and he's a soccer-type player, and he had fantastic feet. If you ever watched him catch a football, he looked like a soccer player catching a football. It was not the most common thing in the world. But once he got his feet underneath him, he's one of the most athletic guys I've ever seen play that position as a run blocker even though he wasn't a monster of a player."