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Towson quarterback Tom Flacco not relying on family connection

Towson quarterback Tom Flacco, brother of Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco, at Johnny Unitas Stadium.
Towson quarterback Tom Flacco, brother of Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco, at Johnny Unitas Stadium. (Kim Hairston / Baltimore Sun)

The name Flacco probably opens a lot of doors around Baltimore. But that’s not how Tom Flacco views things.

Flacco, the younger brother of Ravens quarterback Joe, is a redshirt junior locked in a battle with redshirt sophomore Ryan Stover to be the starting quarterback when Towson opens the regular season at Morgan State on Sept. 1 at 7 p.m.

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And Flacco, a Rutgers transfer, suspects that no popular family connection will play a role in the coaching staff’s determination.

Belgium native and defensive lineman Tibo Debaillie and Canada resident and outside linebacker Malik Tyne are eager to assist a Tigers defense that surrendered nearly 24 points and 360 yards per game last season.

“It probably doesn’t help me at all,” he said during the team’s media day Friday at Johnny Unitas Stadium. “I hope these guys don’t resent me getting all these interviews. I’m like, ‘Holy smokes, how many people want to talk to me because of my brother?’ But it doesn’t help me at all. The people that know me, they realize that I’m a pretty normal person, and so is my brother Joe.”

Senior inside linebacker Diondre Wallace said Flacco has made friends quickly among the Tigers.

“Tom is himself, and that’s all we want — for Tom to be Tom,” said Wallace, a Baltimore resident and Arundel graduate. “We don’t put his brother into the mix. Sometimes we don’t even call him Flacco. Well, at least I don’t. I just call him Tom. Just be Tom. And what he’s brought is a leadership quality among anybody I’ve seen at the quarterback position since I’ve been here. He’s vocal and he’s quiet, which is a good thing.”

Towson coach Rob Ambrose said the race for the starting job is too close to call.

Tom Flacco, the brother of Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco, will be a piece in a larger team-first scheme coach Rob Ambrose hopes will bring Towson football into a new era.

“Depends on the day,” he said. “We’ve got one more scrimmage, and then we’re going to sit down on Sunday and evaluate everything and figure it out — or at least get closer. And then you guys can ask me for the rest of the week, and I’m still not going to tell you, and if you want to find who’s the starter, you’re going to have to come to the game.”

Flacco said he appreciates the competition from Stover, who threw for 2,001 yards and 11 touchdowns and ran for 465 yards and two scores.

“It’s great because we’re all getting better each day,” he said. “That’s what we need to do.”

“Picking us 10th is kind of dumb. But go ahead, we don’t care,” coach Rob Ambrose said. “We’re 10th, we’re no good. Remember that, when you show up [to play Towson].”

The 23-year-old Flacco, who is almost 10 years younger than Joe, Super Bowl XLVII’s Most Valuable Player, said he has not spent much time with his older brother this summer because of their busy schedules. But he did babysit his four nephews and niece on a recent Sunday.

Flacco said he rarely discusses football with Joe, adding they talk about “whatever’s going on. Golf because we were watching golf that day. Whatever’s going on. Mostly just making fun of each other. It’s a tight-knit family. I’m the youngest of six. So there’s always something going on.”

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