Stony Brook University’s football team has two victories over nationally ranked schools and two losses against good but unranked programs. That translates into inconsistency for coach Chuck Priore.
“I’m very pleased with the two wins, not as pleased with our consistency as a football team and our ability to play a good half of football and not play a good half,’’ Priore said this week as the Seawolves prepared for Saturday’s Colonial Athletic Association game at Towson (1-3).
“It’s happened a couple of times now, so it’s one of the emphasis points we had in our bye week. Your practice consistency has to match your game consistency. You’ve got to be able to be mentally tough when adversity strikes. I’d like to see us better in that situation. Hopefully we made some progress during this past week.
“If I break it up, we’re nowhere where we need to be offensively at all. We could sit there and say we played some real good defensive teams, but we haven’t had the consistent play we need as an offense to be a successful program. We’ve got players that need to make plays. We need our ‘A’ players to play like ‘A’ players. If we’re going to compete in this league schedule over the next seven weeks, we’re going to have to figure out how to play quarter to quarter and game to game.’’ ’
The “A’’ players on offense are quarterback Joe Carbone and running backs Stacey Bedell and Jordan Gowins. They performed well in a upset over No. 2 Richmond in Week 3, but the entire offense was lagging in a 38-10 loss to Sacred Heart before the bye week. Sacred Heart was 3-0, but Northeast Conference schools play at a level significantly below the CAA. “We did not play as a football team with a passion when that second half started,’’ Priore said. “We played as a team scared to lose.’’
Asked if his team took Sacred Heart took lightly, Priore said, “Certainly my job is to make sure that doesn’t happen. Sometimes you talk about it too much. I probably, for one, told them about that happening to the point where they probably thought I was full of it and maybe didn’t hear me. Sometimes the less said, the better. We won’t have to talk about that anymore the rest of the year because anybody can beat anybody. I think they understand that.’’
Carbone thinks the offense will bounce back against Towson. “I think it just comes down to making plays when our number is called,’’ he said. “I think we’re on the right track. I think we’re progressing each week. I think we just need to play with high energy and just make plays. We didn’t think [Sacred Heart] was an inferior opponent. We definitely respected them . . . I think it’s an offense where we have to always be aggressive and keep going forward, never relying on the defense. But we do have a great defense, so it’s hard sometimes.’’
Towson lost to Richmond, 31-28, when the Spiders scored a touchdown after faking a field goal. Towson’s offense largely relies on its ground game. Ten of its 13 touchdowns have come on the ground. Darius Victor, who has gained 354 yards, has scored seven rushing touchdowns.
“He is not avoiding contact,’’ Priore said, “he’s making contact, and he’s got the elusiveness to make the cuts in the hole. He brings the hammer when he runs the ball, so you’ve got to make contact correctly, but you gotta get a lot of guys to the football to defend him.
“Their record’s one and three and I see them very easily being three and one,’’ Priore continued. “I think they run the football like you need to run it at this level within this league to be successful. They play a physical brand of football. Defensively, they’re going to attack you, create havoc. And I think they’re well-coached across the board on special teams. You throw the records away at this time of the year. It’s still early in the year.’’
With both of Stony Brook’s losses coming outside the conference, no significant damage has been done. “I feel every game is important and you have to approach every game the same way,’’ Carbone said. “When it comes down to the end of the year, they don’t matter as much as conference games, but of course you still want to play your best and learn every game.’’