Although a 2-5 record is the last thing the University of Richmond football team expected to have at this point in the season, the team said it would have a chance to turn it around this weekend when Towson, ranked sixth nationally in the Football Championship Subdivision, visits Robins Stadium.
In a postgame interview following last week's loss to the University of Rhode Island, head coach Danny Rocco was candid about Richmond's winless record in the Colonial Athletic Association. "We're just not a very good football team right now," Rocco said. "We do the kinds of things that bad football teams do. We make mistakes, turn the ball over and don't finish drives."
After Richmond was excluded from the playoffs last season, the football team started 2013 with the intent to prove it was the best team in the CAA, but Rocco said it hasn't turned out that way.
"Obviously there's a lot of disappointment," Rocco said. "We've been dealing with a fair share of adversity. We've had a lot of very close defeats on the road, and a lot of guys have been out of the lineup with injury. We have a very big game this week at home, so our ability to get back on track this week would be huge against a ranked team."
The Spiders have lost five games by a combined 20 points. "We really haven't played a complete game," Rocco said. "Last week we cut back significantly on our penalties, which was good, but we had some things that cost us later in the game.
"We've yet to really have that experience this year where all three [facets] are functioning in sync and at the same level of production. Being at home and in front of our fans is a big thing for us. The bottom line is we're going to have to play better."
During the first play of last weekend's Rhode Island game, wide receiver Ben Edwards was knocked unconscious and did not play the remainder of the game. Earlier this year, the football team lost key players such as tight end Sam Roller and offensive lineman Nick Ritcher, but Edwards, who has also had his fair share of injuries this year, said injured players still had important roles.
"When you're not playing sometimes it's hard to stay engaged," Edwards said. "But those guys can still be leaders. They might not be able to exemplify their leadership in a game, but they can still talk to guys and motivate people. We will have to deal with adversity in games, but you can still be there for the guys."
Younger players, such as sophomore wide receiver Reggie Diggs, who had his career-best game with eight catches for 136 yards against James Madison University, are well aware of how important a win is for the Spiders.
Contact reporter Lauren Shute at firstname.lastname@example.org