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FOOTBALL: Offense Slowly Finds Its Way

Heights Editor

Published: Sunday, September 9, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 19:01

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Graham Beck / Heights Editor

Looking to avenge its frustrating opening weekend loss against ACC foe Miami, the Boston College football team broke into the win column with a 34-3 shellacking of the Maine Black Bears on Saturday afternoon.

The Eagles’ first victory of the season marked another impressive performance by the offense under new coordinator Doug Martin. Despite suffering from a scoreless opening quarter that featured two costly fumbles and flawed execution, BC found the groove it needed to notch its second consecutive scoring effort of over 30 points.

“[After the first quarter], we tried to let our players know it’s a football game,” said head coach Frank Spaziani of his team’s initial struggles. “It’s 60 minutes and you’ve got to keep playing.”

Another Solid Day for Chase
Whatever advice Spaziani and his coaching staff instilled in their squad paid huge dividends, inspiring the Eagles to dominate the final three quarters with a 34-0 scoring run. Junior quarterback Chase Rettig picked up right where he left off after his strong performance against Miami with another admirable showing. BC’s signal caller threw for 219 yards and tied a career high with three touchdown strikes. By the time he exited the game in the fourth quarter, Rettig had already affirmed the growing confidence of Superfans in his ability to orchestrate efficient drives and forge a consistent aerial attack in Martin’s system.

“Chase was fine today. He had a winning effort,” Spaziani said of Rettig, though realizing there are adjustments his starter must make. “He’s a good player, but he made a few mistakes that we need not to make. We need him to be almost perfect. That’s what we’re looking for.”

Of course, Rettig’s day was not perfect, especially considering that he was facing an unproven Maine defense. Spotting open targets and consistently delivering accurate throws will be steps the junior must take to reach an elite level. Rettig’s handling of pressure in the pocket must also be an area improvement that, if not for the sake of his effectiveness, is essential for his long-term health. An otherwise solid BC O-line allowed Maine to put some hard hits on Rettig, including two sacks.

During the postgame press conference, it was revealed that the BC quarterback underwent X-ray testing for an apparent back injury, though the severity was not made clear. If the Eagles have any shot at overcoming the difficult schedule that looms in front of them, they’ll need an effective Rettig under center.


Emergence of Coleman
As part of an offensive touchdown trifecta that included scoring receptions for receivers Spiffy Evans and Alex Amidon, BC’s Jonathan Coleman tallied a touchdown of his own—the first of his career—after coming down with a Rettig pass deep in the corner of the end zone during the second quarter. It will be interesting to see what role the sophomore receiver takes on in Martin’s more pass-friendly game plan and amidst the emergence of Rettig, especially with the likes of Colin Larmond, Jr. and Bobby Swigert out with injuries. In the meantime, Coleman’s contributions to the offense can benefit BC long-term, and already have his teammates fired up.

“When Coleman got his first touchdown, that had to be one of the greatest moments for me because I got to celebrate with my teammates,” Evans said.


Lookin’ “Spiffy”
Speaking of sophomore wide-out Spiffy Evans, any recap of Saturday’s contest would be remiss without mentioning his own flare for the dramatic, both on offense and on special teams. In addition to executing on a 36-yard touchdown reception and collecting a career-high 53 receiving yards, Evans provided the play of the day. After receiving a booming 63-yard punt in the third quarter, Evans proceeded to sprint straight through Maine’s special teams coverage and arrive in the end zone untouched with an 82-yard return for a touchdown—the first by an Eagle in three years. Although the return proved to be a momentum-shifter in the game, it might have been the highlight-reel spark BC needs as it heads into the heart of the 2012 season.

“I love giving my team that extra spark because once I scored, everyone was really into the game,” Evans explained. “You could see how bland the game was at first, but once you get a spark like that on special teams, there is no telling what our team will do on both sides of the ball.”

Moving Forward
The Eagles’ effective combination of sound defense and timely offense was key in putting a win on the board and injecting some confidence into a team that has faced its fair share of struggles over the past year. Yet Spaziani realizes that their early-season dress rehearsal ended with Maine, and the Eagles will have to exceed expectations to survive a daunting stretch of games starting at Northwestern next week.

“We took some steps forward in areas, but we’ve got 10 tough games coming up and we’ve got to get better. There are some good things out there, but we’ve got to get better,” he said.


A New Superfan in Town?
While Saturday’s game had its moments of excitement and stagnation, one interesting side note was the sight of Larmond, Jr. showing Celtics first-round draft pick Jared Sullinger around the Superfan section. Hopefully, Larmond will soon find his way back onto the field while Sullinger looks to find his place alongside KG and Rondo.

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