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COLUMN: Rettig Proves He Is Ready To Run His Team

Sports Editor

Published: Sunday, April 7, 2013

Updated: Sunday, April 7, 2013 22:04

 

Chase Rettig spent his Saturday morning running. 

The Boston College senior quarterback, known for his arm’s accuracy and efficiency, made the loudest noise at the Eagles’ scrimmage this weekend by running the football, running a wide receiver’s route, and running his fifth offense.

He passed the ball as well, of course, and just like any balanced attack, it’s his ability to pass that allows him to run this team.

“Chase always puts the ball right on the money,” said senior wide receiver and go-to target Alex Amidon. “I don’t know how he does it. He’s a beast.”

That’s where the leader, sporting a full beard and longer, waving hair for spring ball, earns the respect to run.

“You’ve got to be doing your job before you can start commanding it from other people in the huddle,” Rettig said. “That’s what I’m trying to do. I’m trying to play the best football I can for the offense and make the best decisions so that we can be successful.”

In the 12th cycle of practice, Rettig fired a throw to sophomore wide receiver Harrison Jackson on a timed comeback route. Jackson hesistated too long, stuttered the wrong way, and allowed the corner to jump the play and nearly take the ball to the house for six. 

Before the ball even hit the defender’s hands, Rettig went streaking to Jackson’s side of the field. The quarterback hit the young wideout’s shoulder pads with two hands, and then without stopping his movement bypassed Jackson running the route himself. 

He was loud, he was correct, and more importantly, he had earned the right to be.

“A great thing happened today,” head coach Steve Addazio said he told the team after practice. “Chase, in a positive fashion, went after [Jackson] and not only told him what he wanted, but demonstrated what he wanted with genuine, real intensity.”

After a few weeks of saying that every position is open, Addazio recognized Rettig as the starter after practice. It was a formality, but nevertheless a meaningfull one. Until he officially had the title, he could only lead so much. Now, he’s setting the tone for everyone else.

He remembers back when he was a freshman, surrounded by “monster, fifth-year guys.” He remembers how hard it was to lead back then even though he worked his way under center. That guy and this guy, both on the field and off, look tremendously different.

“Now that I’m established in years here and I’ve played in some games, it’s really important for the younger guys to have a couple guys on offense step up and show them how to do it,” Rettig said.

Not only are the younger players taking Rettig’s lead, but the established veterans are as well. Amidon, who has always led more by example than anything else, keeping his head down and outworking everyone else, knows it probably should have been him out there running the route for Jackson after the slip up.

“It’s something that more seniors on the team have to do,” Amidon said. “It reminds me that I have to do it too.”

That was the message at the end of last season. There was no accountability, there wasn’t enough leadership, and that needed to change.

“We’re going to turn it around,” Amidon said after the final loss to NC State last year. “It’s on the players. It’s on me. I take responsibility for a lot of what happened this year—not being a leader, not stepping up, not holding people accountable. The kids coming back next year—we’re going to change it. We’re all going to change it.”

That change is in progress now.

“More than last year, but it’s obviously not where it needs to be,” Amidon said after practice when asked if he saw more accountability so far.

And, no matter what, it will start with Rettig. He’s figuring out Addazio’s system. He knows that power running and play action will dominate first and second down. He knows he’ll get a chance to spread it out on third down.

“A lot of guys that are receivers or quarterbacks don’t want to hear that, but if you can establish the run it just opens up so much in the play action game,” Rettig said.

He even knows that Josh Bordner might come in and run some read or option plays, and he’s ready for it. He’s even ready to run those plays himself.

“Whatever they ask me to do I’m going to do,” Rettig said. “If someone saw a lot of my film or something they might not say I’m a between the tackles runner, but you do enough of that stuff where sometimes they’re big enough holes that I can do some stuff.”

Addazio tested Rettig by giving him a few designed runs during the scrimmage. On one play, the senior tucked the ball and split the tackles as he pushed off his braced left knee into the middle for a diving gain of eight.

Then he hopped right up and ran back to the huddle, ready to run it again if he had to and ready to run this team to where it hasn’t been for three years.

“My biggest job is to lead the other 10 guys in the huddle,” Rettig said. “That’s really what I’m trying to do my senior year to get us back to the post season. It’s really important to the school, the coaches, the program, and the community.”

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