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Q&A With Chase Rettig

Junior quarterback Chase Rettig looks to complete a pass against Florida State last season.

Junior quarterback Chase Rettig looks to complete a pass against Florida State last season.

Aug. 3, 2012

Junior Chase Rettig, who hails from Sierra Madre, California, will enter this season as the Eagles starting quarterback. Dating back to his freshman year, he has started 20 consecutive games at quarterback and is looking to emerge as a leader on this team. Last season, Rettig completed 170 of 317 passing attempts for 1,960 yards and 12 touchdowns, while seeing action on 719 offensive plays. He sat down with BC Athletics to provide a firsthand assessment of what fans will see out on the field this year. The Eagles open their preseason training camp on Monday and will host a BC Fan Day on August 10 to give the fans a chance to watch a practice and interact with the players.

Tell us a little about the team’s summer workouts up to this point. What have you observed in the huddle, on the field, in the weight room, and off the field?
I’ll talk about the summer weight lifting program we had. Our new strength coach, coach [Mike] Poidomani brought in a rough and tough mentality. He had been here in the late ‘90s, early 2000s, I’m pretty sure. He says that BC football is all about the culture and he harps on us being “BC Tough.” He wants us to attack workouts like they’re our opponent on the field. He has inspired us quite a bit and I like how our team has responded. I feel like we all got bigger and stronger and faster. Most importantly, we had fewer injuries, which is huge going into camp – having all of the pieces to the puzzle and not worrying about having enough guys at a certain position. In the huddle, I’ve been with the skill players mostly. We have seven-on-sevens, so it’s not really practice because it’s run by the players. The guys that will play have been here for the past couple of seasons and have played a good bit. We understand each other and everyone can answer a younger person’s question. I and the other quarterbacks will have final say if something gets out of order. Our recruiting class that came in this summer is picking everything up pretty well. We just have to make sure we translate that to camp. We want to keep working at everything so everyone can be a leader out there and a valuable voice.

BC fans are aware of your outstanding arm strength and throwing abilities. What are some of the finer aspects of your game that have you been concentrating on improving this offseason?
I hope the BC fans will get to see more of my throwing because I think we can do well in the passing game. Last season I feel like we were in a position where we needed to run the two-minute drill or be in a third and long, and at the beginning of the season we were tossing the ball a little more and we had a high success rate in those situations – over 40 or 50 percent. Hopefully with the new offense we can establish a passing game because we’re always going to have a good running game. We have O-Line U up front with our offensive line. If we can throw the ball it will open things up a lot and we can get other teams out of the box on defense so we can run the ball. Running the ball and throwing the ball successfully works hand-in-hand. I hope I can be able to get up to the line of scrimmage and be able to get into the play we need to be in. I want to be able to decipher the defenses to a level that I have yet to reach in my BC career. I have also been working on being better at being another coach out on the field. I think the quarterback’s job is to be there to help the offense and facilitate the offense. Essentially I want to be able to be able to put our team in the right situation to be able to succeed on any given play.

You’re 20 years old and you’ve already started 20 straight games at quarterback in your first two seasons as a collegiate athlete. You’re starting your third preseason training camp at Boston College on Monday. How much have you benefitted/how have you grown from such great experience at a relatively young age?
Going into college, for whatever reason it was in my head, I wanted to go somewhere that I was going to play. I wanted to be able to compete right away. I’ve always had a competitive knack, as all athletes do, so when I got here – I came in a semester early – I just worked as hard as I could and did my job. I think having the two years of experience on the field it makes a player exactly what it is – you become more experienced and more ready to play. I can walk into Florida State this year, and when I did that my freshman year my eyes were as big as oranges, but I’ll be able to go in this year and facilitate the offense and run our game without worrying about crowds or what the other team is doing to us. I think we can use that to our advantage – a lot of players here in my class played as freshmen, so now that we’re juniors we’re old enough to embrace each moment instead of worrying if you’ll do well enough to keep getting playing time. I think it will be a good thing for our team this year to have a little more experience.

Your teammates Bobby Swigert and Tahj Kimble have spoken to us about new offensive coordinator Doug Martin. Emmett Cleary has mentioned that the style suits the team quite well. What are you impressions of him so far, both on and off the field?
I think Coach Martin has been a really good fit for us. He’s a really good guy off the field. I’ve watched a lot of film with him this summer. He’s goes out of his way to do anything that we need of him. I feel comfortable going to talk to him about on the field and off the field issues. He’s a very exciting guy; he’s energetic, which gets us going. He lets us know when we need to pick it up and play to his style of offense. But when we’re executing and reaching our goals that we set for each practice, he is really exciting to be around. I think that he energizes our team and helps to fuel the guys out there. He’s been a great addition, but we have to all do our parts to aid in what he is orchestrating in order for us to be successful. That’s what camp and training up until now has been for. We look forward to going through camp and getting ready for the first test against Miami.

From a quarterback’s perspective, tell us a little about the new offense. What has been different for you since coach Martin arrived at the Heights?
I can’t say too much. I can tell you that it fits the style of offenses that a lot of college coaches have been transitioning into over the past five or six years – it’s fast and uptempo and we don’t want to let the defense read our formations. The offense is aimed at trying to put a lot of pressure on the defense. I can’t really say that much about it. Uptempo is the best way to put it – making sure the defense is on its heels and that we aren’t walking up to the line of scrimmage and calling the same play again and again. Being able to call multiple plays at once and then picking based on the situation and what the defense gives us is something I really like about the offense. Overall, it’s a better situation, as a quarterback, for me to be in because it shows that the offensive coordinator has a lot of trust in me if he’s going to send me to the line of scrimmage with multiple plays and then I get to pick which one is right. I’m excited for that opportunity and excited to get out there and play.

The effectiveness of the offensive line is crucial to the success of every team and every quarterback. Talk a little bit about Emmett Cleary and the guys that will be protecting you – and serving as the foundation of our running game in 2012.
The guys that play in the trenches don’t get enough recognition. They’re what run every offense. Last year was a good year to get a couple of different guys in the mix and to get them experience. I really like our group this year and Emmett [Cleary] has really taken the responsibilities of leading O-Line U and there’s a list of great players right after him in John Wetzel, Bobby Vardaro, Harris Williams, Ian White, Andy Gallik, and more. There are a lot of good players there and I think if we stay healthy we will be very successful. Since I’ve been here it’s been a situation where if we lose one guy on the line it kind of scrambles everything up. Now I think we are two-deep at every spot on the line, which is huge because injuries will happen. I think the line will be good though and Emmett has been huge. Hopefully everyone stays healthy. They’re the guys that will make the difference between winning and losing games.

You have a lot of sure-handed guys to throw to, including Colin Larmond and your classmates Alex Amidon and Bobby Swigert. Talk about how your relationships with them help your play on the field and speak a little about the rest of the receiving corps.
Since day one of my time at BC, Colin and I have always been pretty close, working out extra together and grabbing food together and hanging out. I feel like we have a pretty good connection. He’s a really good speaker and can get guys motivated. He’s a guy with a lot of experience and has been through an injury, so there’s a lot of fuel behind him. I expect him to make a lot of plays this year and be consistent. When you’re playing with a lot of guts and a lot of drive after coming off an injury to prove people wrong, you’re bound to make big things happen. With Alex [Amidon] and Bobby [Swigert], they are just real consistent lunch-pail guys. You know, bring your lunch-pail, punch your ticket and do your job. Our strength coach always refers to them as the lunch-pail guys. They’ll always give the same effort on their routes, they’re just robots that keep going and going. Obviously Bobby has led the team the past couple of years in various categories, so we’ll try and get the ball to number 10 as much as we can. Alex has grown a lot too. He’s our deep threat, so hopefully we can stretch defenses out and call the right plays for him. We haven’t really put ourselves in the best positions to call those type of plays for him yet. As for everyone else, a lot of the younger guys look up to Johnathan Coleman and they see his work ethic and try and model themselves after him. We have a lot of depth at receiver. You can even see that last year, as a freshman, Spiffy Evans has a lot of explosiveness and good juke moves. Hopefully we will be able to utilize everyone with our new offense and new game plan.

In the backfield there are several solid running backs. How do you expect to utilize each of the running backs’ talents in 2012?
Utilizing their talents is a good thing for us to do because they all bring a different style of running to the game. Andre Williams is a really good north and south runner and he’s great in pass protection schemes. Tahj [Kimble] is great in a scat-back scheme where he will stay in protection and then leak out for a pass because he has really good hands. Deuce, Rolandan Finch, is kind of both of them put together: a bigger back with good balance and good hands. I think we will see a lot more of Tahj this year, though. He had some injuries last year, but he is ready to play now. He has such a great outlook on things and is always happy and energetic, which is what we need in our offense. He brings the level of play of everyone up.

You go up against the team’s defense each day in practice. Which of those guys have stood out to you? Who has made a big jump from last season?
The guys that have stood out to me are Jim Noel, Steele Divitto, Al Louis-Jean, Jr., Kaleb Ramsey, and I can keep going down the list, but those are the guys that, when I’m going into the locker room for film sessions or an extra workout, I see them coming out from our workout facility on their own time or doing extra footwork drills. Their extra efforts showed in spring ball, so I think there is a lot to look forward to there. I think they have emerged as the leaders for each position, which is important so that our young players can continue to learn and develop.

Your younger brother is a highly-regarded high school quarterback who recently committed to LSU. What is it like to be a member of a two-quarterback family? Was your older brother also a quarterback?
My older brother, Riley, played all sports in high school and was extremely athletic. For whatever reason, he didn’t get his growth spurt until late, so he was never really recruited. He went to University of Arizona and now has a good job. But we’ve always been an athletic family: my dad played basketball at Saint Mary’s College of California and my mom was a cheerleader. Living with my younger brother, Hayden, has been great because I can relay information and help him out with stuff relating to football that he would never know if he didn’t have an older brother playing football. We’re all really close. All my little brother talks about is LSU, so that’s getting old (laughs). My parents are really supportive though and every time I go out and play it’s for my family and everyone back home that can’t see me play and everyone associated with Boston College. I just try and help out my younger brother as much as I can. Obviously, it was really tough during the recruiting process because I was so biased but I just tried to help. It’s just tough now because my brothers and I are all in separate places so I don’t get to see them that frequently, but hopefully they’ll all get to come to a game this year at Boston College.

You’re one of few guys from the West Coast on the team, what are your impressions of living in Boston and attending Boston College? How have you adjusted to the East Coast winters?
I get this question a lot. But I feel like BC has become the other family that I needed in being so far away from home. Everyone has been really nice to me up here. I love Boston. It’s really tough competing with the Red Sox, Celtics, Bruins and Patriots, but I think we’re going to have a good year this year and people are going to be excited to come out and watch us play. The major thing that is different in Boston is the weather, obviously. At home I was used to having one season the whole year, basically. But it is kind of cool to have a real winter and be able to play a game in a near blizzard like this past season at Maryland. And the going through a cold winter makes the summertime that much better when it finally comes around.

- Interview conducted by Brad Fadem, Media Relations Assistant

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