“[Rettig] and Doug get along real well,” coach Frank Spaziani said. “Doug is extremely high on his progression since he’s gotten here in the spring. We’re happy where he’s at. He’s making good decisions. I’ve said all along, Chase spends a lot of time. It’s important to him, we think he has the physical skills, and we think we have things in place for him to excel. We have the right platform for him, now we have to do it.”
But the biggest difference since Martin’s arrival, according to Rettig and Swigert, has been the calming influence Martin has brought to practices.
“He keeps things positive,” Rettig said. “As a person, you couldn’t ask for a more player’s coach. Sometimes you have coaches who distance themselves away from the players. I think the position he’s in, installing a new offense, he has to be close to us. It’s been fun so far.”
Easily approachable, Martin will break the tension by focusing on the next play. Just make up for it later, he says. Every turnover needs to lead to four explosion plays on the next drive. Any run of more than 10 yards and a pass of more than 15 yards has the Eagles thinking in a different direction.
“Now, Coach Martin is the type of guy, he understands what we’re thinking,” Swigert said. “We’re not playing afraid to mess up, we’re not intimidated of what’s going to happen if we mess up or looking right at him if we mess up, being scared. We’re just doing what we think is right, and I think he does a good job in handling that in the way he comes up to the huddle, says it’s all right if you mess up once or twice, but he realizes we’re getting acclimated to this offense.”
No longer afraid to make a mistake like in previous seasons, no longer burdened by the fear of repercussions, when Martin enters the huddle and cracks another joke during practice, the players working his new offense can’t help but burst out laughing.