Martin coming in to put BC on the offensive
New OC will build from QBs’ strengths
They talk pretty much every day, exchanging ideas while getting to know each other.
Chase Rettig has been through it before. So have Dave Shinskie and Mike Marscovetra, the other veteran quarterbacks on Boston College’s roster. And so has Josh Bordner, who may very well battle Rettig for the starting job.
It is what you do if you are Doug Martin, the Eagles’ new offensive coordinator - a position that has been open three times in the last 12 months.
But this is not Martin’s first dance. He came to BC from New Mexico State, and before that was head coach at Kent State for seven seasons. He is here - like new offensive line coach, and former Ohio State offensive coordinator, Jim Bollman - because BC’s offense needs help, quickly.
Coming off a 4-8 record, coach Frank Spaziani, after three seasons, knows the clock may be ticking on his tenure.
Today’s start of spring practice is earlier than usual. “No bowl game, so we missed that practice time, and we want to work on things sooner rather than later,’’ said Spaziani.
Everyone is ready to go, including Rettig, who will be a junior next season and has put on 25 pounds since he arrived at The Heights.
“I feel I haven’t been able to show what I can do yet,’’ he said last week. “That comes with the team. Hopefully, 2012 will be a year we come together.
“I want to be able to elevate my game and elevate the play of everybody else. I want to take advantage of my maturity. I want to be more celebratory, I want to be in the moment, play with more energy, emotion, and enthusiasm. The three C’s for a QB are calm, cool, and collected.’’
Technically, Rettig is under his fourth offensive coordinator in the last 13 months - Gary Tranquill, who retired last winter; Kevin Rogers who replaced Tranquill and then took a medical leave in September; Dave Brock, who filled in for Rogers; and Martin.
“With a new OC, you just have to adjust to it and run the offense they give you,’’ said Rettig. “It’s just another challenge.’’
Martin is excited about building relationships with the quarterbacks.
“It’s important to spend a lot of time with the quarterback,’’ said Martin, who is also the quarterbacks coach. “And do it off the field, not just in football. It is a special relationship between a quarterback coach and the quarterback. There is something different about that. I’m trying to build that trust now.’’
Martin insists he will build his system around the quarterback, not have the quarterback adapt to the system.
“The system has to be multiple enough to fit the talent,’’ he said. “I don’t think you say, ‘This is the system and you have to do it.’ I don’t believe that. I’ve been at places where I have had mobile QBs. I have been at places where there is a drop-back passer. The offense [BC is going to use] is diverse enough to do both. What I’m trying to figure out now is, what do these guys do well? With the QBs, running backs, and wide receivers, I want to do what I can do to make them successful and develop an identity, and hopefully by the spring we will have a better idea.’’
Martin has said the feedback he has received from players has centered around one theme. “ ‘Coach, we need confidence, we need swagger,’ ’’ said Martin. “At my first meeting I began to tell them that comes with being prepared. You are confident when you are prepared and when you know what you are doing, when you have something you believe in. It’s got to be a system. We have to change the attitude. I told them to put their egos aside. If we go out and get this thing done together, there will be plenty of glory for everybody. But you won’t get it done unless you are together. That’s the big thing.’’
Rettig knows he could be fighting for the job with Bordner, who appeared mostly as a running threat last season as a redshirt freshman. Bordner also has what Spaziani described as a “cannon’’ for an arm, and will be given the opportunity to win the job.
Rettig smiled. “Competition brings out the best in everyone,’’ he said. “It will drive me to be better. I’m going to push myself. With my experience, I’m going to try and take over.’’
Rettig knows there are critics who said he regressed last season.
“The QB has to take the heat,’’ he said. “You have to manage somehow. Sometimes things aren’t going well in life and people find ways to manage. It’s the same in football. Quarterback is a tough position. You make your own destiny, but it definitely helps when you have people playing around you. Hopefully, we find those pieces this year.’’
Rettig said he will play bigger this season because he needs to.
“I was a freshman playing at 190. I was 205 last year and now I’m about 215. That’s a good weight,’’ he said. “I talked to Coach Martin about it. When you are a QB, you want to be agile, but you need to be big physically.’’
Rettig also wants to have an increased feeling of togetherness among the players.
“Everyone has to believe in each other,’’ he said. “That’s the most important thing, knowing the guy next to you is going to do the right thing.
“This spring I want everyone on the field to trust each other. I want us to have a good time. Things are going to get better here. We are going to change things. We need to let people trust each other.
“BC is a resilient place. We are not used to losing here. We have won games, we have also lost a lot of close games. There aren’t too many games we haven’t been there at the end. The mentality for us is to just win. There are so many critics who simply dismiss us. But we’re going to play with a purpose and for each other. I want it to be more personal. I want us to just grab a film and watch things with the coaches. I want us to go out and grab 10 of your friends and go see a movie. I want to do more team bonding. That’s what it’s got to be about. We’re all in the boat together.’’
Rettig knows not everyone will agree with the way things are done. “[Players] don’t have control,’’ he said. “You have to buy into it no matter what you think. You have to say this is the best decision. That’s what we need to do.’’
Martin, meanwhile, is focusing on the battle between Rettig and Bordner. “You can’t get more than two ready,’’ he said.
Martin also knows a leader must emerge. “If you have two, then you don’t have one,’’ he said. “It’s always better when you have a guy.’’
As for his overall offensive philosophy?
“The No. 1 thing I want to change is the attitude of the offense,’’ Martin said. “I want it to be aggressive. I want us to be up-tempo. I want us to play faster. If there’s a way as a coach I can speed us up, I will do it. I want the players to get involved.’’
Mark Blaudschun can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.