Ambrose Gives UConn A Glimpse Into The Future
EAST HARTFORD - On Thursday night UConn football fans got a glimpse of two futures for the Huskies program, one a nightmare of what is to come in 2013 and the other a dream of what could possibly be.
The bad dream will probably wake up UConn coach Paul Pasqualoni and Husky fans all season and it’s that this team just doesn't seem to have it. Yes it's just one week but after consecutive 5-7 seasons UConn and Pasqualoni needed to start the season with a bang, not by being manhandled by an FCS school.
But they were and now the wheels are turning. UConn AD Warde Manuel saw what transpired Thursday night, lackluster performance, poor turnout, student section clearing out minutes into the fourth quarter, and if he didn't have one going already he had to start a wish list of next Husky coaches on the spot.
You know who's going to be on that list? Towson's Rob Ambrose that's who. Ambrose was on the UConn staff as it transitioned from I-AA to Division I and he's done a great program building job at his alma mater now too. A 1993 Towson grad, Ambrose has gone 16-7 over the last two seasons after a 3-19 start with the Tigers.
An NCAA tournament bid, at least a share of consecutive CAA titles and now the program's first win over an FCS school are prime examples of what Ambrose can do and there's a good chance he will get the opportunity to move to a higher level soon.
After the biggest win in program history Ambrose didn't gush, he didn't boast, he exuded a calm and confidence and it’s no coincidence his team played that way against the Huskies. You could sense the pride he felt about the moment and the joy I gave him to see his team succeed.
Asked for an opening statement, Ambrose simply said "I love my family. I love my family," and took questions.
He acknowledged that the win would be perceived from the outside as huge but he framed it as just a step toward a goal. The Tigers are aiming for a national title and they have a coach that not only believes that they can get there but one who will do anything to make it happen.
"Anybody that’s ever followed how I do this, there’s a book I suppose full of the normal things you’re supposed to do in football, I don’t subscribe to that at all," Ambrose said. "Whatever is best for our guys to have a chance to win and if that means bending the norm a little bit, oh hell yeah that’s what I'll do."
While Ambrose will do anything it takes on Thursday night UConn couldn't seem to do anyone it took to win. The Huskies were out gained, outplayed and out hustled. Players make plays and ultimately decide games but coach’s matter and it was Towson who had the better one in this matchup.
"He's a great coach. Great, smart … y'all know here," Terrance West said after rushing for 156 yards and two touchdowns. "He prepares us very well. He put this team together. We've just got to prove we can go do it. He's done his job already. Now we've got to perform."
Now UConn needs to perform and it had better do it quick. Maryland comes calling on Sept. 14 and Michigan the week after. A 0-3 start with all three games at home isn't exactly what the Huskies had in mind as they look to return to a bowl for the first time in three seasons but it’s a very real possibility.
It's a nightmare of a future actually and about the only thing that will help is if the Huskies and their fans wake up and find a coach like Ambrose roaming the sidelines