FOOTBALL: Six Step Program
Published: Thursday, November 14, 2013
Updated: Thursday, November 14, 2013 01:11
In a back corner of Aggie Memorial Stadium, the Boston College football team concluded its fight song with the few fans in Las Cruces before heading to the locker room to let it ring again.
“For Boston, For Boston, ‘till the echoes ring again…” the team sang following a 48-34 victory over New Mexico State last week, the first road win since 2011.
As they ran to the locker room, a video camera found senior captains Ian White and Kasim Edebali. White threw up his left hand at the camera, stretching each of his fingers to mark the team’s 2013 win total.
“That’s five,” he said. His tone was both confident and simply declarative. It wasn’t celebratory. It was a checkmark, with hints of more to come.
Edebali delivered the message more simply. He put up his right hand, and only let out a word.
“Five,” he said.
Five, just like they planned. One win away from six—one win away from their goal. They had just given themselves a chance to clinch bowl eligibility on what should be an emotional Senior Day against North Carolina State this week.
It will be the last time 18 Eagles play at Alumni Stadium. The list includes WR Alex Amidon, DB Ted Davenport, LB Steele Divitto, DE Kasim Edebali, K Nate Freese, LB Connor Galligan, QB Mike Marscovetra, TE Mike Naples, TE C.J. Parsons, OL Matt Patchan, LB Kevin Pierre-Louis, DL Kaleb Ramsey, QB Chase Rettig, DL Jaryd Rudolph, FB Jake Sinkovec, OL Ian White, RB Andre Williams, and DB Zach Wolfe.
The group comes from a mix of recruiting classes, as well as transfers, but they all have one thing in common. After watching the BC football program fall into the cellar, they wanted to lay the foundation for something better. That foundation means at least making it to a bowl game, something that didn’t seem so attainable at the end of last season.
The Eagles faced the Wolfpack in their finale last year, losing 27-10. BC finished the season at 2-10.
“We’re going to turn it around,” Amidon said after the loss. “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.
“We’re not going to let people slack off anymore—not that that necessarily happened, but we need to step up as leaders.”
Amidon delivered on his message, along with the rest of these seniors. Former head coach Frank Spaziani was fired by athletic director Brad Bates, and a few days later Steve Addazio was announced as his replacement.
While Addazio and his staff have played a significant role in the team’s turnaround, with the Eagles sitting at 5-4, the seniors accepting the new coach’s message helped lay the groundwork.
“I think that the most important thing about this senior class is that they have totally bought in to everything that we wanted to do,” Addazio said. “They have embraced it, they have loved it, and even in the last two weeks, they have brought their mental part of their game even harder. These guys have gone the extra mile in terms of preparation.
“There were times in each huddle where there was a real refusal to lose and a couple guys challenged people, like Matt Patchan in that offensive huddle, and I think that is part of the growth. In week 10 this senior class is still growing and that is what is amazing to me.”
The seniors have produced at almost every position on the field, leading the way for the Eagles. Rettig, Amidon, and Williams have been the biggest offensive playmakers.
Rettig has embraced the move to the power running game, providing relief through the air when needed. After a rough stretch of games in losses to Clemson and North Carolina in which Rettig completed 23 of his 41 passing attempts for 262 yards and one touchdown while being sacked nine times, the quarterback has turned things around. In the last two wins over the Hokies and Aggies, Rettig has completed 28 of his 39 passes for 323 yards and four touchdowns without being sacked once.