BC gets off on wrong foot
Pantale to miss significant time
Boston College football coach Frank Spaziani sat behind a table before Friday’s media day at Alumni Stadium with a fungo bat resting at his side. No curveball questions, he declared. No forkballs either.
Turns out, Spaziani had already faced a breaking pitch in the morning.
Chris Pantale, a fifth-year senior and the ACC’s most experienced tight end, will miss significant time after breaking a bone in his foot.
Pantale, who had appeared in 38 straight games and finished last season with 21 catches for 236 yards and three touchdowns, suffered the injury during practice earlier this week, and it flared up Thursday. Spaziani made the announcement after viewing X-rays Friday.
“He’s a tough kid and he pushes himself through a lot, but you can’t push yourself through a broken bone,” said Spaziani, who was unclear about which foot Pantale broke, but speculated it was his right. “The leadership, that intangible itself is going to be missed on the field.”
With a new offensive coordinator in Doug Martin, junior quarterback Chase Rettig will be given more freedom, and with it an enhanced opportunity to shine. Rettig threw for 1,960 yards and 12 touchdowns last season, and has started 20 straight games.
“When we get to the line of scrimmage, we’ll be able to manipulate the defense, rather than vice versa,” Rettig said of the new system. “It gives me more freedom. I played as a true freshman so I’m sure I was on a tighter leash than most guys, but as my career goes on, I feel that this will be the most trust the coaches have in me.
“That’s what I like about it. Playing quarterback is a mental game, a mental aspect, rather than the physical side. It’ll be a good chance for me to use my time watching film and understanding this offense and defenses and put it towards winning games for our football program.”
Junior Mike Naples is the backup tight end on BC’s depth chart, and sophomore Jarrett Darmstatter could see time as well, according to Spaziani. After Naples missed practice time, Spaziani moved redshirt freshman Dave Bowen, a 6-foot-7-inch, 285-pound offensive lineman, to tight end. Such flexibility is possible within the new offensive scheme.
“We’ll just do things a little differently, that’s all, have different packages,” Spaziani said. “Every team is going to have problems with injuries, and you’re going to have to deal with them. That’s the excitement of college football, and that’s how sports work.”
If injuries provide excitement, then the Eagles had a captivating 2011 season. They finished 4-8, suffered through plenty of ailments, and emerged with Spaziani on the hot seat.
“The trend with wins and losses is very obvious to everybody. But the program is going north, not south,” Spaziani said. “There are a lot of situations that have occurred. I’m not going to revisit history, I understand where we’re at, and I understand we want to win. The players understand that, and where we have to go.”
The Eagles will host Miami Sept. 1 in their opener. They beat the Hurricanes, 24-17, in their finale last season, a game in which Pantale had a career-high 70 yards receiving and two touchdowns, and Rettig went 13 for 17 for 196 yards, flashing the promise BC is counting on.
“Early in the year, nobody knows who’s any good,” Spaziani said. “It takes five, six, seven games before things start to settle out. As far as opening up with a team of Miami’s caliber, it’s the same for them.
“It’s a long season, our players understand that, and this is how we coach them. But it’ll give us a good barometer of where we’re at real fast.”