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Chase Rettig: Eagles need to ‘scratch and claw’ for bowl eligibility

08.09.13 at 12:58 pm ET

CHESTNUT HILL — It’s no secret that if the Boston College Eagles are going to turn around a trend that saw them win just six games in the past two seasons, quarterback Chase Rettig is going to lead the way.

But the senior quarterback, who is going through yet another change in offensive coordinators, knows the process is going to be deliberate. His focus is on Villanova and the opener Aug. 31 at Alumni Stadium. Work on winning that game and then go from there, with the end goal of bowl eligibility.

On media day at BC, he was careful not to put a number on the wins he thinks he and the Eagles can reach this season.

“I don’t know if you can do that,” Rettig said. “Right now, we want to win the opener because last year we didn’t. I think we’ve had better teams than our record has shown the last two years. But momentum is key. We have to win the opener and then scratch and claw, do whatever we can to get into bowl eligibility, and that’s just the mind-set. If it’s more than that, then it’s more than that. That’s what we’re going to try and do. Our work ethic is what’s going to control it, try to be better than our opponents this year.”

New coach Steve Addazio went a step further in taking the heat off his quarterback, at least to start the season.

“Number one, beyond a doubt, if you can’t play defense, you’re not going to win,” Addazio said. “It’s all about great defense. If you don’t play great defense you’re not going to win. It centers around playing great defense. You better be great in special teams, and I’m a big believer that your quarterback has to play real well.”

Addazio was asked about the back-up QB battle between Josh Bordner, Mike Marscovetra and three other QBs on the roster.

“Productivity in camp. You have to be productive. Have to watch Josh move the team,” Addazio said. “You either move the team or you don’t. You either move the team or you don’t. I’m glad if you complete 92 percent in 7-on-7. I really don’t care about 7-on-7. I want to see you move the team when you get hit. I’m going to judge that and evaluate that. Obviously, we hold Chase accountable to the same standards but he’s coming in as the starting quarterback right now so we’re going to protect him a little bit more.

“Some of the other guys, we’ll probably not going to protect as much. We’re going to throw them into the fire a little bit and see how they go, and find out who’s going to take those spots. You find one guy standing up. There’s been plenty of times in history here at Boston College a guy gets in there and does so good he doesn’t give it back to the other guy. It’s all there. It’s all open. Nothing’s forever. Right now, Chase is the starter. Right now, Josh is battling Mike for that second spot. The second spot could always become the first, I guess. Right now, that’s our mindset for sure. We have a clear path, for sure.”

In the fourth game of the 2010 season, Rettig made his debut at BC playing against Notre Dame. In a 31-13 loss to the Irish, he connected on a 58-yard touchdown pass to Bobby Swigert but had to leave the game due to an ankle injury. After missing the following game, Rettig earned the starting quarterback job and led the Eagles to the 2011 Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl, where he completed 14 of 34 passes for 121 yards.

That was the season the Eagles lost five straight, falling to 2-5, only to rally and win the next five and become bowl eligible. The Eagles lost to Nevada 20-13. Rettig threw for 1,238 yards and six touchdowns during the season.

After a 4-8 season in 2011, the Eagles fell to 2-10 in the 2012 season, Rettig started all 12 games and threw for 3,055 yards and 17 touchdowns on the season. His season QB rating was a career high 115.6. He connected with junior wide receiver Alex Amidon 78 times for 1,210 yards. Those are numbers Rettig and the Eagles offense have been building on this spring and summer.

“It’s been good,” Rettig said during media day at The Heights. “We had some in the spring but we didn’t really use it as much as we do now. We’re just trying to get used to it. Some guys are getting more acclimated. Different people have different learning curves so being a senior, being a quarterback, I know more. I’m trying to be an extension of Coach Day and Coach Addazio and get everyone on the same page.

“You don’t want to just go out there and run as many plays as you can for no reason. You want each play to be executed as a team and be worth something. Use tempo and be in control. When I’m in [huddle] right now, I can lead. Approach, demeanor, how you handle yourself in all the situations, I think those three years of experience have rubbed off and now I know how to handle those situations and just trying to be a voice on the team. The best way to do that is to set a standard, you set goals that other guys believe we can get to and then you live by those and expect it every rep off the field, on the field and in certain situations. That’s what I’ve been trying to do.

“You have to work harder than the guy you’re going to be lining up against on Aug. 31. Against the defense in practice, you have to handle yourself the best you can because we’re responsible for our success. It starts with the person, then grouping more people, then the unit, then it’s the team and then it’s the whole program. You just have to be responsible and accountable and that’s what we’re stressing in this program right now.”

Ryan Day was BC’s receivers coach during Rettig’s first two seasons before leaving for the 2012 campaign to join Addazio’s staff at Temple. Day says he’s spent plenty of time talking about leadership as a quarterback and making the right plays at the right time.

“You have to find your own way,” Day said. “The first thing I said in the step for doing that is setting a standard. Once you set a standard on how you go about your business, you have to be a guy that knows every play. Be the expert at everybody’s position. You know what the running backs are doing, know what the offensive line is doing. You have to be yourself and I think Chase is learning that.

“He has to make sure that he takes a bad play and can’t make it worse. He can’t make an average play and make it bad. He can’t take a great play and make it average. He has to do the opposite. He has to manage the game, and that’s the biggest challenge he has this year, is managing the game for us, taking care of the football and keeping us away from bad plays.”

More video from BC media day from offensive coordinator Ryan Day and head coach Steve Addazio:

Boston College head coach Steve Addazio believes he can bring winning back to The Heights: “Not winning is not acceptable.” Addazio puts all the heat on his defense.

Read More: Alex Amidon, Boston College, Chase Rettig, college football
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