Make-or-break. Hit his ceiling. Needs to step forward. Could be replaced. All of these words or phrases followed Boston College Eagles quarterback Chase Rettig throughout the long 280+ day offseason following his disappointing 2011 season. Entering 2012, Eagles fans looked towards the junior quarterback from California in hopes that he would finally take charge of the Boston College offense, while fearing that the Chase Rettig experiment might have been a failed one. On Saturday against Miami, despite the 41-32 Eagles loss, Rettig quieted his doubters by playing his best game in a maroon and gold uniform.
The box score does not truly capture his performance yesterday. If one merely looks at the stat sheet, they’ll still see an impressive day: Rettig went 32-51 for 441 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. The interception was a pick-six by Denzel Perryman, representing the only real mistake he made all day, but the completion percentage, yardage, and perhaps even touchdown totals should have been higher. Boston College receivers dropped about ten passes yesterday; had they been caught, the statistics would be mind-blowing as he could have easily thrown for 500 yards.
Rettig’s passes were crisp and accurate, he made good decisions with the football, and most importantly, he had time. Hitting targets had been a problem for Rettig in the past, coming into this year with a career completion percentage of just under 53%. Also, in previous seasons, Chase Rettig was forced to make decisions in distress, and oftentimes he made the wrong one. This all funnels back to the latter point: he had time. Rettig’s offensive line played its best game in years with the same guys who underachieved last season, which is both a testament to how well new coach Jim Bollman is doing with them and also how poorly the former offensive line coach managed this unit. Having the tight end essentially as a sixth offensive lineman helped the protection up front, though BC lacked the offensive capabilities of a player like the injured Chris Pantale. As opposed to last year, Chase Rettig did not constantly have to evade pressure or throw on the run: he could sit back in the pocket, go through his progressions, and find his target.
Indeed, the offensive line deserves a great deal of credit for how Rettig performed, but acknowledge the man himself. By all accounts, he worked very hard in the offseason and new offensive coordinator Doug Martin tutored him well. The fact that the play-calling was bold and creative helped substantially, but Rettig and his line put the team in a position to succeed unlike anything Boston College has seen in several years. The pick-six was unfortunate, but it was the only clearly identifiable mistake he made in a day where he had over fifty passing attempts.
Of course, one game does not make a season, even though it inspires some hope. There are still eleven games to go and nobody knows what will happen from one week to the next; a wait-and-see approach is still appropriate, though Eagles fans are well within their rights to be cautiously optimistic about their quarterback.
In 2011, the data we had about the Boston College offense was clear: the more BC stuck to the ground-and-pound and kept the ball out of Chase Rettig’s hands, the more they won. After all, in BC wins, Rettig averaged 16 pass attempts while the Eagles averaged nearly 50 runs. Everyone knew Doug Martin was going to abandon that conservative style of offense and institute a modern passing game, but its success was predicated on two things: Chase Rettig and the offensive line playing better. They did, and Chase Rettig can carry on confidently as this team’s starting quarterback.