FOOTBALL PREVIEW: Taking The Next Step
Published: Thursday, September 6, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 18:01
It didn’t take long for Rettig to delve into Martin’s offensive playbook. He got a call from his new offensive coordinator on Christmas Day, and as soon as Rettig got back to campus in January, he went right to work with Martin.
“He told me he was excited and that he had watched me, and he thought I had a ton of potential,” Rettig said. “So then going into the spring, he unveiled this offense that he ran at Kent State and different places. A bunch of the QBs loved it right away. It’s kind of more attack-first, throw the ball around, so obviously it’s great for a quarterback. We went through that transition, and then all the QBs took it upon ourselves to learn as much as we could so we could help the other guys that were going into another offense: the receivers, the tight ends, the running backs.”
Rettig wants to be an extension of Martin on the field, and he took the time during the spring and summer to build on that goal. After meeting with Martin repeatedly throughout last semester and working with him during spring football, Rettig took it upon himself to continue running Martin’s offense during the summer even when Martin could not be there due to NCAA regulations. The work Rettig put in during the summer was vital in Martin’s eyes, as he not only continued to learn the offense, but also established relationships with his offensive teammates.
“[Chase] was really good about getting the receivers together, the tight ends and the running backs, and throwing pass skeleton this summer against the defensive backs,” Martin said. “He did that all on his own. The coaches can’t be out there for those things. He called his own plays during those [practices]. He stepped up and did a great job leading the team during that time.”
“We just wanted to be an extension of Coach Martin, and I think we’ve done a good job of that in the spring and the summer,” Rettig said. “Guys picked it up.”
The offense that Rettig learned and taught to his teammates throughout the spring and summer was a very up-tempo one. The goal is to get to the line of scrimmage and call plays before the opponent’s defensive line is even set. Using Martin’s multiple one-back offense, filled with shifts and motions, Rettig adapted to a system that he found more freedom in than the ones he played in during his freshman and sophomore years.
“My first two years, it was like calling the plays where if something didn’t look good, we still had to run that play,” Rettig explained. “This offense is a little [flexible] because we have a chance to call two different plays. It gives me more freedom. It’s good because I can put us in a better situation. When you get the play and then you change it to the right play and it works, it’s just gratifying. It makes all the hard work pay off.”
While Rettig has worked on being an extension of his offensive coordinator on the field, Martin is happy to give him that freedom under center. Regardless of what play Martin calls in the huddle, he wants Rettig to be able to think on his own at the line of scrimmage, especially if he sees certain ways to exploit the opponents’ defense on a given coverage.
“[Chase] understands what I’m trying to do with game plans and with the offense. He’s disciplined enough to execute it that way,” Martin said. “At the same time, I don’t want to stifle him. I want him to be creative and be able to make plays when he sees something there that maybe we haven’t practiced, but he just sees.
“He’s got a lot of freedom at the line of scrimmage. He’ll be handling a lot things for us, putting us in the right play. He’s got a lot of say in what we do offensively.”
“I don’t think someone would say it was easy”
Consistency hasn’t been a friend to Chase Rettig and the offense off the field either. When he first got to BC, Gary Tranquill called the shots as offensive coordinator. Head coach Frank Spaziani had not planned on using Rettig as a starter that early, as ideally Rettig would have redshirted his freshman year. But three games into the season, Spaziani had seen enough, and, with a primetime game against Notre Dame at Alumni Stadium looming, decided to it was time to introduce Rettig to college football.
“That was a tough situation on him,” Spaziani said. “If I remember right, his preseason camp, he didn’t get as many reps, he really wasn’t a standout in there. We were trying to make some decisions with the guys we had, and he didn’t jump out and say, ‘Okay, put me in the mix.’ But he was in the mix. And then we just bit the bullet and made a decision to put him in there.”
Rettig’s career started off with four straight incompletions against the Fighting Irish, but he followed that up with a 58-yard beauty to Bobby Swigert for his first collegiate touchdown.
“It was great,” Rettig said. “That’s why I came in early that year, was to try to compete and it worked out. One of our first drives, I threw a touchdown. I’ll always remember that.”
But on the next series, Rettig went down awkwardly on his ankle and was out for the rest of the game. He lost the next two games he started, but finished the season by leading BC to five straight wins.
“He did a remarkable job, really, for not enough experience and then being injured and coming back. He did a great job there,” Spaziani said.
Just a year later, Kevin Rogers was hired to replace the retired Tranquill. The Rettig-Rogers connection seemed exciting and healthy entering the 2011 season, but it was cut short, as Rogers left his post at OC just two games into the schedule, citing health reasons. Dave Brock filled in for Rogers through the end of the season, but he bolted for Rutgers two months after he was named Special Teams coach at the end of the year.
“We kind of got in a little situation last year where the situation changes as far as offensive coordinator goes, and he had to adapt to that and that’s not the ideal situation,” Spaziani said. “He’s overcome all of that, and he’s a better person for it.”