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COLUMN: Rettig Quiets The Doubters For A Week

Sports Editor

Published: Monday, November 4, 2013

Updated: Monday, November 4, 2013 03:11

It was a rushed victory formation, without enough time to celebrate or appreciate what was happening. Boston College senior quarterback Chase Rettig hurried his team to the line on the Virginia Tech 35. There was 1:24 left in the game, and the Eagles were up seven points on the Hokies. Senior BC defensive lineman Kasim Edebali had just forced Tech quarterback Logan Thomas to fumble. BC scooped it up, and here was Rettig, egged on by his head coach, to get out there and seal the win before a review could get in the way.

The fumble looked legitimate, but the underdogs weren’t taking any chances. Rettig took a knee before any whistles blew. Virginia Tech was out of timeouts, so now he could start to have his moment. He turned around to find senior wide receiver Alex Amidon standing 10 yards behind him, acting as insurance for a bad snap. Rettig threw up both arms, emphatically pointing with each hand to one of his saving graces the past two seasons.

One year ago, Amidon stood just a couple feet to Rettig’s left in one of the lowest points of a horribly depressing season. The Eagles were hosting the Hokies in Alumni Stadium in November, just like they did on Saturday—except instead of Saturday’s ecstatic cheers, there was a heavy rain of boos. After Virginia Tech had just converted a field goal to tie the game at 23 on Senior Day, BC took over with 59 seconds on the clock, two timeouts, and a chance to put the reliable leg of Nate Freese in a position to win the game.

Following two straight runs to David Dudeck and two timeouts by Tech head coach Frank Beamer, former BC head coach Frank Spaziani sent Rettig out on the field to take a knee and concede overtime. The Eagles eventually lost, as BC couldn’t answer a Hokies touchdown after Rettig faced serious pressure on his three passing attempts in OT.

“Every competitor wants the ball, but it was a smart decision to play for overtime there,” Rettig said after the game, of Spaziani’s decision to take the knee. “We were tied at that point. I don’t think that decision had an impact on the game.”

Rettig helped wash away those old demons—the ones that came from six wins in two years and from poor performances in the previous two games this season—in his 11-14 passing performance for 93 yards and a touchdown, adding 20 yards through two carries on the ground. The numbers aren’t particularly impressive, but Rettig doesn’t need to wow anyone with his statistics—not for himself, his new head coach Steve Addazio, or his team. 

There have been calls from outside the team for BC to give backup quarterback Josh Bordner a chance ahead of the incumbent senior. Bordner is, in some ways, more Addazio and offensive coordinator Ryan Day’s style. He’s more mobile, and giving him some looks now would let BC start preparing for next year when a new system gets implemented after the mass exodus of this senior class. 

But that is dumb. Rettig may not be the heart of the BC football team, but he’s without a doubt become one of its leaders. Without being provoked, his offensive teammates talk about his poise in the huddle and his confidence under pressure. Those are both things that a team fighting for every inch on the way to six wins can’t live without.

Yes, sometimes he holds onto the ball for too long, and yes, he can be too locked in on Amidon on certain plays, but when Amidon is the only receiver with a chance to get open on a majority of plays, it eventually makes sense to instinctually focus in his direction. Rettig isn’t close to perfect and his play isn’t extraordinary, but he’s a solid game-manager who receives far too much lazily-placed blame during losses. It would be irresponsible to replace him with a backup solely for Bordner’s running ability.

Also, Rettig can run, at least a little bit. His consistent refusal to slide drives his coaches a little crazy, but Rettig relishes the few opportunities he gets to hit people. That’s the reasoning he gave when asked about his repeated shoulder ducking when he passes the line of scrimmage. He said he missed his high school days, when he rushed for more than 450 yards during his junior year, averaging more than six yards per carry.

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