FOOTBALL PREVIEW: Tight-Knit Wideouts Receptive To New Offense
With Bobby Swigert sidelined due to an injured ankle, the wide receivers are looking to use experien
Published: Thursday, September 6, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 18:01
In Chase Rettig’s three years as a quarterback on the Heights, he has become pretty well acquainted with the likes of Cole Biscuits, Swag Daddy, and Grandpa. With football players so often hidden behind their facemasks, an outside observer would never know this trio to be three of Boston College’s top five wide receivers: Johnathan Coleman, Bobby Swigert, and Donte Elliott, respectively. This list is not meant to omit the always-entertaining giver of these nicknames, Colin Larmond, Jr., and the man with the nickname not fit for print, Alex Amidon.
The charismatic Larmond appears, at least outwardly, to be the unquestioned leader of the receiving core, and with good reason. When a question is posed to the group, it is almost always the fifth-year senior to whom the others defer.
It comes as no surprise that the nicknames are his creation, as was a new tradition that he recently initiated. Of this he said, “I just started something the other night, as I was reading my playbook. I texted all the receivers, including the ones on the scout team and the freshman. There are 14 of us and I texted all of them ‘Good Night.’ The next day we came in and they had no idea what that was about.”
Fatherly texts aside, Larmond is a receiver who has shown impressive flashes throughout his four years at BC. In his sophomore year, Larmond finished second on the team in receptions (29), yards (596) and touchdowns (five), behind then-senior Rich Gunnell.
After tearing his ACL in the summer of 2010 before his junior year even started, the 6-foot-3, 200-pound receiver came back to put up similar numbers last year. The injury, while an obvious setback, has provided Larmond with the advantage of experience, resilience, and most importantly, perspective.
With the Eagles’ top receiver, Bobby Swigert, battling a left knee injury that will keep him out at least another week, Larmond had some advice for the embattled junior.
“With [Swigert] being out now, I texted him, because I know what it’s like,” said Larmond of the junior that he had redubbed “Mr. Hobbles.” “I told him that it could be way worse and that he’s just got to be positive and stay with it.”
With Swigert sidelined for the foreseeable future, an opportunity has been given to fellow junior Amidon. Sporting his ever-present shoulder-length hair, Amidon provides another unique personality to go along with Swigert and Larmond.
The soft-spoken receiver broke through near the end of the 2011 campaign as he started the final five games, becoming a fan favorite in the process. The speedy Amidon, described as a “workaholic” by Larmond, styles his game to emulate another receiver known for his exceptional work-rate, Jerry Rice.
The emphasis on experience among Rettig’s top receiving targets continues in the slot with Coleman. When asked which player on the team he is most looking forward to seeing this season, Amidon readily pointed to Coleman.
The injury to Swigert allows the 6-foot-4 Coleman an opening to potentially show the coaches and fans alike what Amidon already knows. Operating out of the slot will give Coleman the chance to run various routes over the middle, which could make him a safety valve for Rettig.
When asked about his relationship with his classmate, Coleman raved, “I feel like Amidon and I got a lot closer over the summer, not only on the field but off as well, even just doing normal things like playing Xbox. When you know each other so well, it helps you to push through in practice and games when you’re tired.”
The final piece to the receiving corps is the unheralded fifth-year senior, Elliott, affectionately referred to as “Grandpa.” In the words of Larmond, the nickname is the product of Elliott’s penchant for “always trying to tell people what to do.” Elliott appeared in all 12 games in his junior campaign, and along with Larmond, provides a steady veteran hand for some of the more unproven receivers.
Tying all of these various personalities together is the man in the pocket, Rettig. Dubbed “Chas-e” (pronounced something like Chass-ay) by Larmond, Rettig is going into his third year with all five of these receivers, and Amidon is hoping the familiarity will pay off.
“For Coleman and I, this is our third year with Chase,” Amidon said. “Every year we come into the offseason with him and we get back on the same page. I think right now, we’re a lot closer with him then we’ve ever been.”
Having worked with the likes of Dominique Davis, Dave Shinskie, and various other quarterbacks before the arrival of Rettig on the Heights, Larmond has a particular appreciation for the junior. Larmond acted as the mouthpiece for the rest of the receivers with glowing comments about their rapport with the signal caller.
“He’s taken a tremendous leap in terms of leading the offense and becoming a vocal leader,” Larmond said. “The receivers, we all respect him. No one’s ever showed him up and he’s never shown any of us up. It’s a great mutual understanding, and if he does yell at us that’s his job.”