Boston College will try to bounce back in ACC

Boston College is coming off its worst season since the turn of

the millennium, and quarterback Chase Rettig is making it his job

to turn things around.

The Eagles junior, who was thrust into the starting job early in

his freshman year, presided over the team’s 4-8 record last season

– its worst since 1998. It wasn’t just Rettig, of course, but he

knows he’ll have to improve in order to get BC back to a bowl for

the 13th time in 14 years.

”Just being the quarterback, you automatically take on a lot of

responsibility,” Rettig said this month at media day. ”I’m just

going to prepare as much as I can and try to bring BC to back where

we were.”

Rettig was expected to redshirt as a freshman in 2010, but coach

Frank Spaziani gave up on 26-year-old former minor-league baseball

player Dave Shinskie and then picked Rettig over sophomore Mike

Marscovetra. Rettig struggled early – he injured his ankle in his

debut against Notre Dame – but won his last five games of the

regular season before a loss to Nevada in the Fight Hunger

Bowl.

But BC struggled under Rettig last year, losing six of its first

seven games. The Eagles went 3-5 in the Atlantic Coast Conference,

finishing fifth in the six-team Atlantic Division.

”We’re happy with where he’s at. He’s making good decisions,”

Spaziani said. ”At all positions, experience is the only thing you

can’t teach. Certainly the quarterback, with all the decisions, has

a lot of responsibility physically as well as mentally. … We feel

like we’ve got a good one, and have to find out soon.”

Spaziani took over the Eagles in 2009, winning eight games his

first year, seven the next and then last year leading the school to

four wins and its first losing season since 1998. BC also failed to

make it to a bowl game for the first time since `98.

”The trend with wins and losses is very obvious with

everyone,” said Spaziani, whose tenuous job security may have

taken another hit when athletic director Gene DeFilippo announced

on Friday that he was retiring. ”But the program is going north,

not south. I understand where we’re at and we want to win – and the

players understand that.”

This year’s team already has been hit by injuries and other

roster problems.

Running back Montel Harris, the leading rusher in school

history, was kicked off the team in the spring. Luke Kuechly, who

led the nation in tackles last year, graduated. Tight end Chris

Pantale broke his foot in practice this month and will be out for

what the coach called a ”significant” amount of time.

Linebacker Kevin Pierre-Louis is expected to fill some of the

gap left by Kuechly’s departure.

”It’s not extra pressure, it’s a new sense of responsibility,”

Pierre-Louis said. ”I feel like somebody needs to step up and be

the type of force he was on the field. I feel like being one of the

guys who has some of the most experience on the defense, I need to

be the leader and the force.”

The Eagles will play Miami in the Sept. 1 opener, a rematch of

last year’s finale in which BC beat the Hurricanes 24-17. Miami

finished 6-6 last year, 3-5 in the ACC.

”A lot of teams used to start off with an easy win, but

starting off with Miami is what we need,” Pierre-Louis said. ”We

know that we can’t come off slacking in the first quarter or

they’re going to take the game away from us.”