FOOTBALL: Notebook: Offense Looking For Quick Start vs. NU
Published: Thursday, September 13, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 19:01
After a dominating performance against Maine last weekend, Boston College will face its toughest test of the season so far when it travels to Chicago to take on Northwestern Saturday afternoon.
The Wildcats are 2-0 on the year, including a 42-41 win over Syracuse despite giving up 482 passing yards to opposing QB Ryan Nassib. Considering how well offensive coordinator Doug Martin’s offense has performed so far, Chase Rettig and company could take center stage on Saturday.
The Eagles need to avoid the poor start that slowed them down against Maine, scoring their first points eight minutes into the second quarter. BC hopes to avoid another sluggish start this weekend.
“The [slow start] carried over from practice,” Rettig said. “A couple things we didn’t execute well showed up in the game. The one way to fix that is to practice better this week, and I thought [Tuesday] was one of the better practices we’ve had.”
“It’s something that Coach Martin stresses, starting fast, and we didn’t do it [against Maine],” said wideout Alex Amidon. “Not making mistakes in the first couple of drives really gives us momentum. That will be key.”
Amidon is having a breakout year for the Eagles, as his 16 catches and 248 receiving yards lead BC, the latter good for the fifth-highest total in the country. Amidon attributes the new scheme installed by Martin to his, and the offense’s, success so far this season.
“[The offense] is more fast-paced and a little simpler,” Amidon said. “I love it. Sometimes when you’re in an intricate offense there’s a lot at the line of scrimmage to think about. With this offense, we’ve been doing the same thing for so long now, it’s just second nature. You can play as fast as you can.”
Traveling to Illinois will be a homecoming of sorts for a number of Eagles, including left tackle Emmett Clearly—from Arlington Heights—and middle linebacker Nick Clancy, who’s from Plainfield.
“It’ll be nice [to play there],” Cleary said. “A lot of people have never had a chance to make it out [to Boston]. It’s a chance for all the Chicago guys to make a good impression.”
“It’s really exciting, just having this opportunity to showcase what I can do,” Clancy said. “Finally getting a chance to start on a national scale in front of my home crowd. It’s going to be really spectacular, and I’ve been inching to get down there. I can’t wait for Saturday.”
Clancy’s family and a number of friends are attending the game, something he made sure was possible before the season started.
“Week One, I only had two people coming to our game from Miami,” Clancy said. “I made a deal with a couple other guys on the team to help each other out later down the road. I was able to get a lot of tickets through that.”
“My dad just emailed me actually last night the rough draft of who’s making the cut,” Clancy said, laughing. “A lot of people are expected to come.”
Both Clancy and Cleary considered playing football for Northwestern, but ultimately decided on BC.
“I very nearly went there,” Cleary said. “It really came down to [BC] and Northwestern. I felt like I fit in more here at this school, and then this program, I wanted to be a part of it. Just being around the guys, it was a different feel. I made the right choice.”
“When I was choosing schools, three big things stood out: academic[s], athletics, and location,” Clancy said. “BC and Northwestern are almost identical in terms of where they are in those three categories. When it came down to it, it was either stay close to home or go far away, and I choose to head out east.”
Getting the win this week is of the utmost importance for BC. Not only do they want to avoid a 1-2 start, but the Eagles also have a bye week after the game before a tough matchup against No. 11 Clemson Sept. 29 at Alumni Stadium.
“[Getting the win] is very important,” said linebacker Kevin Pierre-Louis. “Confidence is very key. Especially with the win going into the bye week, preparing for Clemson—having two weeks—it would do amazing things for us as a football team.
“We’ll be able to rest up a little bit, go on into Tuesday’s practice next week not really having the Northwestern game in the back of our mind. We’ll be able to focus purely on Clemson.”
Rettig echoed that sentiment.
“Everyone knows [a win] would really help out,” Rettig said. “It’s up to us. We’ve got to play good football. We have to play four quarters.”