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BC offense ready to pull its weight

8/29/2011

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. -- There is a sign in the meeting room for the Boston College wide receivers that reads “Be where you’re supposed to be when you’re supposed to be there.”

It’s not exactly a new concept for the position, but there seems to be a newfound adherence to the rule.

“We have to live by that,” said receiver Colin Larmond Jr.

Timing is everything, and it’s finally coming together for the BC offense. The hire of first-year offensive coordinator Kevin Rogers, coupled with the maturation of quarterback Chase Rettig, who is entering his second season as a starter, has made a world of difference for the Eagles -- at least according to those within the program based on what they’ve seen this offseason. The program has earned a reputation as one that wins with defense, but the offensive players -- with all due respect to their teammates -- are tired of hearing it.

They’re ready to close the gap and make Boston College a more balanced and complete team.

“I’ve said to the guys a few times, ‘Aren’t you just tired of hearing people say, ‘defense, defense?’ There’s two sides to the ball,” said Larmond Jr. “It’s always just the defense. That’s something that has to get to you guys. … Now they’re playing with a little bit of a chip on their shoulder and trying to prove that it’s not just BC’s defense, it’s BC’s whole team.”

But it’s BC’s offense that has to make the biggest strides if the Eagles are going to be a surprise contender for the Atlantic Division. Boston College ranked No. 109 in the country last year in total offense, No. 109 in scoring defense, and No. 97 in passing offense, and No. 90 in rushing offense.

The defense? It was the best in the country at stopping the run.

The offensive troubles were not a byproduct of former offensive coordinator Gary Tranquill, his system or his philosophy. Tranquill’s hands were tied by what he had to work with, and the root of the problem has been at the quarterback position, where dependability has been an issue. Not since Chris Crane in 2008 has BC known in early August who its starting quarterback was going to be.

Now, Rettig is The Man.

“I definitely think I’m ready,” he said. “But once you think you know everything, you don’t. Even the best quarterbacks in the NFL and college football are still learning every day. The base is there to work hard. If I can just keep working hard every week and prepare every game, I think we can be a successful team. … I think I’m going to have the opportunity to show I can be a dependable guy this year.”

He seems to have convinced those around him.

“The offense came out firing on all cylinders,” said linebacker Kevin Pierre-Louis. “I can’t rave enough about them. They’ve done an amazing job this camp. They exposed certain weaknesses that we wouldn’t find out until later in the season.”

The biggest difference, he said, has been execution. Senior cornerback Donnie Fletcher agreed.

“Those guys are executing very well over there,” he said. “Usually we don’t get scored on. That caught us by surprise. Those guys have a good game plan.”

And it all starters with Rogers, whose reputation precedes him. Rogers was a fan and media favorite during his time at Virginia Tech, and his personality and knowledge of the game have had a similar immediate impact in Chestnut Hill. He got the players to buy in with his method of teaching.

The job now, he said, is to keep it up.

“We’re still a work in progress, but there’s visible improvement,” he said. “I think we’re a little better in spots than I anticipated. Obviously we have some situations we need to rectify, too.

“I just have to maintain that edge with those guys,” he said. “I’ve got to find a way to keep them believing. The only way that’s going to happen is if we win football games.”

A task that will get much easier as the offense improves.