ACC: Doug Martin

We begin a series today analyzing each team's schedule for the 2013 season. Up first:


Nonconference opponents (with 2012 records)
  • Villanova (8-4)
  • USC (7-6)
  • Army (2-10)
  • New Mexico State (1-11)
ACC home games
  • Wake Forest
  • Florida State
  • Virginia Tech
  • NC State
ACC road games
  • Clemson
  • North Carolina
  • Maryland
  • Syracuse
Gut-check time: Sept. 6 versus Wake Forest. Boston College gets to open ACC play on a Friday night in prime time against a team that has the potential to be a darkhorse in the league. If the Eagles are going to be improved over their 2-10 record in 2012, then they have the perfect opportunity to serve notice in this game. We will have a good idea about how competitive BC can be in the ACC because this game comes along so early in the schedule.

Trap game: Nov. 9 at New Mexico State. The Aggies were absolutely horrendous last year, but the timing of this game sets the Eagles up for a trap. It comes after an arduous three-game stretch featuring games at Clemson, at North Carolina and Virginia Tech, and it requires a trip some 2,300 miles away to Las Cruces. The Aggies are now coached by former BC offensive coordinator Doug Martin, who has keen familiarity with Chase Rettig, Alex Amidon & Co. Hard to figure what the Eagles have to gain by making a trip so far away in the middle of ACC play.

Snoozer: Aug. 31 versus Villanova. This game could provide one of the few wins for the Eagles this year.

Defining stretch: Nov. 16-Nov. 30 (NC State, at Maryland, at Syracuse). This is the most manageable conference stretch of the season for the Eagles, and gives them an opportunity to potentially close out on a high note. Maryland was the only ACC team BC beat last season; and both NC State and Syracuse have major questions at quarterback to start the year. That is one area where BC has an advantage over them. For the Eagles to be better, they have to win the winnable games. These three qualify as three of the most winnable league games on the schedule.

Final analysis: The nonconference schedule provides an opportunity to go 3-1 -- that alone would be an improvement over last season. If BC can squeeze out at least two ACC victories, this season would be a great success. There are some opportunities there, though the ACC schedule makers did the Eagles no favors. Not only do they play two of the better teams in the Coastal division, the early part of their league slate is exceptionally challenging. After Wake Forest, BC has to face Florida State, Clemson, North Carolina and Virginia Tech -- not exactly the type of schedule that can help a rebuilding team gain some confidence. Perhaps going through that difficult stretch can help prepare the Eagles to become more battle-tested in the last stretch of their season, where there are more winnable games.

ACC's lunchtime links

January, 29, 2013
Is there a Big 12-ACC alliance in the works?

2012 report cards: Boston College

January, 16, 2013
With bowl season officially in the books, it’s time to see who made the grade and who didn’t in the ACC. We’ll start team-by-team report cards today, going in alphabetical order:


OFFENSE: The hire of Doug Martin as offensive coordinator was a definite upgrade for the Eagles, but their inability to run the ball was a glaring weakness. BC finished No. 115 in the country in rushing offense at just 90.92 yards per game. More was expected from Andre Williams, Rolandan Finch, and Tahj Kimble. The offensive line improved, but was still not up to the standards of O-line U, standards BC fans came to expect during the Eagles’ 12-year run of bowl games. The highlight was the passing game, led by receiver Alex Amidon, who was a first-team all-ACC selection and finished No. 11 in the country in receiving yards per game with 100.83. Quarterback Chase Rettig improved under Martin, but BC made too many mistakes and lost the turnover battle more often than not. Grade: C

DEFENSE: This was a major disappointment for a program that had grown accustomed to the defense being its strength. In recent years, even when the offense struggled, the defense was good enough to keep the team in position to win the game. That wasn’t always the case this season. There was no Luke Kuechly, there was no game-changer, and the defensive line was ravaged by injuries and didn’t have the depth to overcome it. BC was No. 111 in the country in rushing defense, No. 100 in total defense and No. 74 in scoring defense. BC struggled mightily to get pressure on opposing quarterbacks, and to make plays in opponents’ backfields. Grade: D

OVERALL: There is a reason Frank Spaziani was fired the day after the regular season ended. It was a miserable season for the program and its fans, as BC reached rock bottom in 2012. The Eagles ended the season with four straight losses, their only FBS win of the year was against Maryland and its fifth-string quarterback, and the Eagles missed a bowl for the second straight season and finished last in the Atlantic Division. During Spaziani’s tenure, an accumulation of problems were never solved, and there was too much turnover on the staff. Some problems were inherited, as former coach Jeff Jagodzinski made some recruiting missteps, and there were also season-ending injuries to key players, which led to a crippling lack of depth, especially on the defensive line. Instead of getting better, though, BC continued to regress. Grade: F

Midseason report: Boston College

October, 16, 2012

Record: 1-5, 0-3

The season has not exactly gotten off the way the Eagles wanted, and now the heat on coach Frank Spaziani's seat is rising. Boston College has zero wins against FBS competition this season and is one of two teams winless in ACC play. New athletic director Brad Bates will have plenty to ponder this offseason.

What is probably most disappointing for Eagles faithful is this team has been in nearly every game it has played. Throw out the Florida State game, and the Eagles held leads in all of their other losses. They had their chances to beat Miami, Northwestern and Army, but they simply failed to capitalize on opportunities. Army was winless when the two teams met and found a way to win, scoring the winning touchdown with 45 seconds remaining.

The running game has struggled to gain any consistency, and has been hampered because of several injuries. The defense has had a hard time making critical stops. Boston College ranks No. 115 in the nation in total defense, No. 117 in rushing defense and No. 96 in scoring defense, and has given up 40 or more points three times in six games.

About the lone bright spot has been the play of the passing game, with Chase Rettig really thriving in the system new coordinator Doug Martin has installed. Rettig is averaging 275.5 yards passing a game, fourth in the ACC. While some of that may be a function of 1) having to shoulder the load and 2) trailing late in games, Rettig has been improved. He also has had some help from receiver Alex Amidon, averaging 114.7 yards a game, second in the ACC.

Offensive MVP: Rettig. He has kept the Eagles in games with his performances, and is on his way toward surpassing his career highs for passing yards (1,960), touchdowns (13) and completion percentage (53.6) -- all set last season. Right now, Rettig has 1,648 yards passing, 11 touchdowns, four interceptions and is completing 56 percent of his passes.

Defensive MVP: Nick Clancy, LB. Clancy leads the ACC in tackles with 73 and has been the most consistent player on the defense. He has filled in for Luke Kuechly in the middle, after playing outside linebacker prior to this season. Teammates Kevin Pierre-Louis and Steele Divitto are right behind him.

BC offense showing marked improvement

September, 26, 2012
The ACC’s leader in receiving yards per game does not play for Clemson or Florida State.

The ACC’s leader in passing yards does not play for Clemson or FSU, either.

Surprise: They play for Boston College.

[+] EnlargeChase Rettig
Anthony Nesmith/CSM/Cal Sport Media/AP ImagesThe Eagles have the top passing offense in the ACC behind Chase Rettig's 951 yards.
The hire of offensive coordinator Doug Martin, combined with maturity and consistency, has made a difference in Chestnut Hill, as the Eagles’ once struggling offense is finally showing signs of life. Whether or not Boston College can keep pace with Clemson when the Tigers come to town on Saturday remains to be seen, but Clemson’s porous defense is sure to be tested. BC receiver Alex Amidon is the league’s leading receiver and ranks fourth in the country in receiving yards per game (122.0 ypg). Quarterback Chase Rettig leads the ACC and ranks 11th among all FBS quarterbacks in passing yards per game (317.0).

“They’re just much more dynamic,” Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said. “They’re totally different looking at them as far as throwing the football and their efficiency in throwing the ball and really understanding how to attack a defense. They’re still big up front. They do a good job with their three-step game, and they’re keeping you off balance with the play-action. They’ve got shifts and motions and they’re playing at a tempo. They’ve never been a tempo team. You watch the Miami game, and heck, they’re snapping the ball and Miami’s not even lined up. They’re barely getting down. That’s a real change. They do a good job of throwing the ball to the running backs, they run the lead draw and the zone as good as anybody, and they do a good job with screens. They still have their physical approach they’ve always had, but just much more dynamic and attacking you in different ways.”

Last year, Boston College was No. 112 in the country in total offense, No. 112 in scoring offense, and No. 100 in passing offense. After three games, the Eagles have the top passing offense in the ACC and No. 16 in the country.

Swinney said it all starts with the quarterback.

Rettig has completed 72 of 127 passes for 951 yards, six touchdowns and one interception through three games. He has completed close to 57 percent of his passes and has thrown 114 times without an interception.

“This guy can play,” Swinney said. “… You don’t throw for 1,000 yards in three games by accident, especially when you’ve played Miami and Northwestern in two of those opponents. I’m very impressed with what they’re doing offensively.”

BC will need to keep it up in order to avoid falling into an 0-2 hole in conference play. The Eagles started the season with a loss to Miami, but will play their first Atlantic Division opponent on Saturday. BC outgained Miami in total yardage despite the 41-32 loss, but hurt itself with three turnovers.

Coach Frank Spaziani said Boston College has been unable “for a number of reasons to be successful on offense,” but that Martin has helped change that. Spaziani said Martin understands what the players can do within the scheme he wants to run.

“He’s always part of the solution, not the problem,” Spaziani said. “He looks at the positive things, and so far we’ve had a lot of positive things. We need more of them.”

What to watch in the ACC: Week 3

September, 13, 2012
Here is a look at the top storylines in the ACC heading into Week 3.

1. ACC division showdown. Wake Forest travels to Florida State while Virginia travels to Georgia Tech in two critical ACC showdowns. The Demon Deacons beat Florida State last season, so you can bet the Seminoles will not be looking past Wake to their game next week against Clemson. Virginia also beat Georgia Tech last season behind a great defensive performance, so the Yellow Jackets are looking for some revenge while trying to avoid an 0-2 start in league play.

2. Upset alert? Though Wake Forest has won four of its past six against Florida State, the Deacs have not had much success against teams ranked in the top 5. Wake Forest has lost 30 straight against top-5 teams and 47 straight against top-10 teams. Its only victory ever over a top-10 team came on Oct. 26, 1946, when Peahead Walker led the Deacs to a 19-6 win over No. 4 Tennessee. All time, Wake Forest is 1-50 against top-10 teams and 1-31 against top-5 teams.

[+] EnlargeSammy Watkins
Joshua S. Kelly/US Presswire2011 ACC Rookie of the Year Sammy Watkins is making his 2012 debut this weekend.
3. Welcome back, Sammy. Clemson has been rolling on offense without 2011 ACC Rookie of the Year Sammy Watkins, but now he is back and has to find a rhythm in the offense -- and fast, with Florida State approaching next week. We have already seen Tajh Boyd, Andre Ellington and DeAndre Hopkins do just fine without Watkins. Now the Tigers have to work on integrating him into the offense and spreading the ball around to all of their playmakers without skipping a beat. Funny anecdote of the week on this topic: Coach Dabo Swinney addressed Watkins in a team meeting earlier this week and said, "We're 2-0 ... don’t mess it up."

4. The Edsall Bowl. Both Randy Edsall and the UConn players have downplayed the significance of this matchup all week, but you have to think that somewhere deep down, Edsall is going to be feeling something for many of the former players he will be seeing for the first time since he left Storrs -- particularly on defense. UConn starts seven seniors on defense, including several players whose only scholarship offer was from Edsall, who saw their potential and believed in them when nobody else did.

5. Coastal Division sneak preview. When Virginia Tech plays at Pittsburgh, ACC fans will get an early preview of what will become a yearly contest between the former Big East rivals. Though Pitt has had a rough start to the season, don't think the past history between these teams has been lost on Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer. Earlier in the week, Beamer rattled off the scores of the past three meetings with Pitt. All of them were Panthers wins. That Pitt three-game winning streak is actually the longest in the series.

6. Is Gio good to go? North Carolina already faces a tough challenge in playing on the road against No. 19 Louisville. It certainly will help the Tar Heels' cause if running back Giovani Bernard is good to go. Bernard sat out last week with a knee injury. He has been able to practice this week, but coach Larry Fedora hasn't really revealed any clues about whether Bernard will play or not. In their meeting last year, Bernard ran for more than 100 yards.

7. Can Rettig keep it up? Boston College quarterback Chase Rettig has looked really comfortable working under new offensive coordinator Doug Martin, and he has gotten some nice play out of receivers Alex Amidon and Spiffy Evans. Boston College ranks No. 1 in the ACC in passing offense. Can Rettig keep up his production against Northwestern? The Wildcats were involved in a wild game against Syracuse a few weeks ago in which Orange quarterback Ryan Nassib threw for more than 400 yards, so there are areas for this BC offense to exploit in the young Northwestern secondary.

8. Bounce-back weeks. Miami and Duke play FCS opponents this week, and it probably could not come at a better time for both teams. Each suffered disappointing losses on the road last week, so getting a win this week would at least help with some confidence. This may be even more true for the Hurricanes, who face a really tough test for their shaky defense against Georgia Tech next week.

9. No looking ahead. After playing FCS teams this week, Clemson and Miami have pretty big ACC matchups in Week 4. Clemson travels to Florida State, and Miami travels to Atlanta. Maybe more so than Miami, which is coming off a loss, Clemson has to guard against looking ahead.

"All you've got to do is look at history, and you see where teams that lost their focus end up costing them," Swinney said. "Virginia Tech a couple years ago lost to James Madison, and they went on to win 11 games. Well, that 12th win might have made a difference for them playing in the national championship. We all know about Michigan being fifth in the country and losing to App State. You saw what happened this week at Arkansas. I know that's sometimes a tendency for people to look ahead, but if we do our job as coaches and we have the kind of leadership I think we have on this team, we'll stay focused on the task at hand."

10. NC State improvement. The Wolfpack are playing an FBS young'un in South Alabama. Not as exciting as some of the other matchups, but important nonetheless for this offensive line playing without Rob Crisp. After giving up six sacks a week ago, NC State is going to want to see some major improvement from the line and the run game, which has struggled in the first two weeks.

Week 1 in the ACC

August, 28, 2012
Here’s a quick look at what’s on tap in the ACC in Week 1:


Tennessee vs. NC State (in Atlanta), 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPNU: The Wolfpack will be without starting cornerback C.J. Wilson, but Tennessee will be missing all-SEC receiver Da’Rick Rogers, who transferred to Tennessee Tech. These teams haven't played each other in 73 years.


Elon at North Carolina, 12:30 p.m. ET, ACC Network: First-year coach Larry Fedora will unveil his up-tempo spread offense with quarterback Bryn Renner, and the defense will also have a new look under assistants Vic Koenning and Dan Disch. It’s one of five games against in-state opponents for UNC.

William & Mary at Maryland, 3 p.m. ET, ESPN 3: Maryland will have an entirely new look with two new coordinators following a 2-10 season, but the spotlight will be on true freshman quarterback Perry Hills, who will start in place of injured starter C.J. Brown.

Richmond at Virginia, 3 p.m. ET, RSN: Quarterback Michael Rocco held onto the starting job despite competition from Alabama transfer Phillip Sims this summer. There is plenty of familiarity between these programs, as UVa coach Mike London is a Richmond grad and former head coach. He had a 24-5 record in two seasons with the Spiders (2008 and 2009), including the FCS National Title in 2008. Richmond coach Danny Rocco, in his first season with the Spiders, is the uncle of the Hoos’ quarterback.

Miami at Boston College, 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC/ESPN2: Both programs desperately need to start the season with a win. Boston College has won the last two meetings, including a 24-17 win at Miami in last season’s regular-season finale. BC’s offense will have a new look under first-year coordinator Doug Martin, and Miami quarterback Stephen Morris will take over the offense in his first season as full-time starter.

Murray State at No. 7 Florida State, 6 p.m. ET, ESPN3: ACC fans are waiting to turn the page, but this will give the Noles’ new-look offensive line a tune-up. This should be a glorified practice run for Florida State, as this year’s team has combined to start 420 collegiate games.

Liberty at Wake Forest, 6:30 p.m. ET, ESPN3: The Deacs get four of their first five games at home and have to take advantage of that. They’ve got 13 starters back from last year’s team, which came within a field goal of winning the Atlantic Division.

FIU at Duke, 7 p.m. ET, ESPN3: The Blue Devils managed to beat FIU on the road last year, but this is going to be a tough game again. FIU was the preseason favorite to win the Sun Belt Conference this year, and it received points in the USA Today Coaches preseason poll for the first time in school history. FIU is coming off back-to-back bowl games.

Auburn vs. No. 14 Clemson (in Atlanta), 7 p.m. ET, ESPN: The defending ACC champs could help further distance themselves from that disappointing showing in the Orange Bowl with a win over an SEC team. They’ll have to do it without suspended receiver Sammy Watkins, who will miss the first two games.


Georgia Tech at No. 16 Virginia Tech, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN: The winner of this game has gone on to win the Coastal Division in each of the past seven seasons. The Hokies’ defense will be their strength while a young backfield and offensive line is introduced. Georgia Tech quarterback Tevin Washington ran for three touchdowns against the Hokies last year.

ACC's lunchtime links

August, 28, 2012
See you in Blacksburg?

Opening camp: Boston College

August, 3, 2012
As ACC teams begin to start practicing again, Andrea Adelson and I will have a quick preview of each team to get you caught up on the basics. Next up to open camp …

School: Boston College

Start date: Monday

Projected finish at ACC media days: Fifth in the Atlantic Division

Biggest storyline: New faces. Boston College will look a lot different when it opens the season against Miami: No Luke Kuechly. No Montel Harris. And a complete overhaul of the offensive staff. Former BC assistants Kevin Rogers and Ryan Day are now coaching at Temple, where Harris transferred after he was dismissed from the team in May for a repeated violation of team rules. The Eagles are now under the direction of first-year offensive coordinator Doug Martin. When compared to last season’s coaching staff, four of the five offensive assistants have changed. BC had one of the worst offenses in the country last season, ranking 112th in scoring offense. This overhaul will either be exactly what the Eagles need, or it will be yet another bumpy transition year.

Biggest position battle: Running back. This group is still crowded, even without Harris on the roster. Rolandan Finch, Andre Williams and Tahj Kimble will be competing for carries. Finch led the team in rushing attempts (157) and yards (705) as a sophomore. Williams is a 6-foot, 220-pound power runner who has 219 career attempts for 978 yards and six touchdowns. Kimble had eight receptions out of the backfield last season and 43 carries.

Who needs to step up: The linebackers. Kuechly accounted for 535 tackles in three seasons. The Eagles won’t replace Kuechly with one person, but senior Nick Clancy and juniors Steele Divitto, Andre Lawrence, Kevin Pierre-Louis, Sean Duggan and Nick Lifka are talented players eager to emerge from Kuechly’s shadow.

Opening camp:
Go ahead, gimme one good reason: One good reason why your team is better than all the rest. One good reason why your team will win this season’s ACC title game. One good reason why your team will get back to a bowl game.

Or, you can wait for me to give it to you.

I’m a neutral reporter, though, so I see both sides of the story -- why your team will win, and of course, why it won’t. Let the series begin today with one good reason why …

Boston College will get back to a bowl game: Only Florida State has more returning starting experience.

The Eagles return 17 starters, including a two-year starter at quarterback in Chase Rettig. It’s not like coach Frank Spaziani doesn’t have anything to work with. This is not a rebuilding year for the roster. It’s a group of hard-working players who are disappointed with the direction of the program, and are willing to do their best to turn it around.

Nine starters return on offense, including four on the offensive line. What was a major question mark at this time a year ago should now be a strength for BC’s offense. First-year offensive coordinator Doug Martin said the offensive line should be one of the most improved groups. Even without running back Montel Harris, the Eagles have depth at the position. The biggest question is, who will emerge as a dependable wide receiver? Defensively, the Eagles have big shoes to fill after the early, but expected, departure of linebacker Luke Kuechly, but there is still plenty of talent at linebacker. Also, the defensive linemen gained valuable experience last season, and should be better at stopping the run.

Why it won’t: There has been too much turnover at the offensive coordinator position, plain and simple.

Martin will be the Eagles’ fifth offensive coordinator in five seasons, as BC has replaced Steve Logan (2008), Gary Tranquill (2009-10), and Kevin Rogers and Dave Brock (2011). The players have had to adjust to yet another personality, philosophy, scheme and terminology. How much better would Rettig have been, or how much more rapid would his growth have been had he continued to progress in the same system? The entire offensive staff got a shakeup this offseason, as four of the five assistants from last season are gone. Some have wondered whether or not Spaziani is an effective staff manager. He has maintained that Rogers took a leave of absence for health reasons, and the others left for better opportunities. All that matters this season is that everyone works together well enough to win, but even the players know staff stability counts for something.

Ranking the ACC's quarterbacks

June, 18, 2012
Disclaimer: This is an impossible task. The ACC has five, 3,000-yard passers returning -- the most in league history. The quarterback position will finally be a strength of the conference. The players are experienced, they have matured, and they are legitimately good. This season will reveal which one is the best, but here’s a preseason ranking of the group:

1. Logan Thomas, Virginia Tech: At 6-foot-6, 254 pounds, Thomas has drawn comparisons to Cam Newton. Physically, his coaches have agreed, and several ACC defenders could attest to how tough Thomas is to bring down. Now that he has had a full season of starting experience, Thomas’ knowledge of the game will only make him more difficult to defend.

2. Mike Glennon, NC State: He’ll have four returning starters on the offensive line, and his height (6-foot-6) and his accuracy make him one of the top returning players at his position.

3. Tajh Boyd, Clemson: Boyd worked his way into the Heisman conversation after last season’s 8-0 start, and he could do it again.

4. Sean Renfree, Duke: Coach David Cutcliffe is convinced Renfree has pro potential, but said his quarterback has to stop thinking so much and use what comes to him naturally.

5. Bryn Renner, North Carolina: He should be even more effective now that he’s not playing with a bone spur in his foot, and he should have one of the ACC’s best offensive lines to work behind.

6. EJ Manuel, Florida State: We haven’t seen Manuel reach his peak yet, because he was injured for part of last season, but he’s one of the most efficient passers in the country.

7. Tanner Price, Wake Forest: He enters 2012 having thrown 173 passes without an interception. He is invaluable to his team, as evidenced by the Deacs’ collapse last season against Syracuse after Price was injured.

8. Tevin Washington, Georgia Tech: He led the nation’s No. 2 rushing offense last season, and accounted for 986 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns.

9. Michael Rocco, Virginia: He led the Cavaliers to an 8-5 record and a bowl game last season, his first as a starter.

10. Stephen Morris, Miami: We’re still not even sure if Morris will win the starting job, as he will compete with transfer Ryan Williams this summer, but Morris’ game experience in Jedd Fisch’s system will be tough to beat.

11. Chase Rettig, Boston College: His development might have been slowed by the turnover at the offensive coordinator position, but first-year coordinator Doug Martin said he and Rettig had a good spring together.

12. C.J. Brown, Maryland: He replaced Danny O’Brien as starter, and ran for more than 100 yards three times last season.

Quickest turnaround in 2012?

June, 13, 2012
There were four ACC teams that finished with losing records in 2011: Wake Forest (6-7), Boston College (4-8), Maryland (2-10), and Duke (3-9).

Of those four teams, which one will make the quickest turnaround? Here's my prediction:


Which of these ACC teams will make the quickest turnaround in 2012?


Discuss (Total votes: 4,317)

1. Wake Forest: For starters, the Deacs don't have as far to climb as the others. Wake Forest looked ahead of schedule last year and was a surprise contender to win the Atlantic Division. The biggest concern for Wake Forest is up front, where it will lose four starters on the offensive line. They also have to replace running back Brandon Pendergrass.

2. Boston College: The Eagles could be one of the surprise teams in the ACC in 2012. Last year's roster was filled with underclassmen, including quarterback Chase Rettig. The running back position has enough depth even without Montel Harris, and first-year coordinator Doug Martin said the offensive line should be one of the team's most improved groups. The receivers remain a question. The defense -- and entire team -- will miss linebacker Luke Kuechly, but with 16 starters back, including seven on defense, the Eagles should be able to still show improvement.

3. Duke: The nonconference schedule is conducive to a 3-1 start, and a little confidence could go a long way in Durham. With 17 starters returning, including quarterback Sean Renfree, a bowl appearance isn't farfetched. Coach David Cutcliffe is convinced the program is still headed in the right direction, but until the Blue Devils start to back it up with more Ws, expectations will remain low.

4. Maryland: The Terps have the biggest leap to make after a 2-10 season, but they also have to adjust to two new coordinators. The biggest reason Maryland comes up last here is because of the turnover they've had on the roster, most notably at the quarterback position. After the transfer of former starter Danny O'Brien, C.J. Brown is now the lone option. Is he the answer, though?

Which team do you think will make the quickest turnaround in 2012 and finish with a winning record? Cast your votes now.

BC confident in its QBs

June, 8, 2012
Boston College used two quarterbacks last year -- starter Chase Rettig and backup Josh Bordner – but first-year offensive coordinator Doug Martin said that won’t be the case this season, at least not intentionally.

“I don’t see us doing that,” he said.

Rettig finished the spring as the Eagles’ top quarterback, followed by Bordner, but Martin said he is comfortable with both of them.

“I think Chase has all of the ability to be one of the top quarterbacks in the conference,” Martin said. “I think Josh has a lot of athletic ability also.”

Rettig has been average and struggled at times in his 21 career starts for BC. He started nine games as a true freshman in 2010 and was expected to make significant strides under former coordinator Kevin Rogers last year, but Rogers left abruptly early in the season, citing health reasons for his leave of absence. Rettig completed 53.6 percent of his passes for 1,960 yards, 12 touchdowns and nine interceptions last year.

It’s hard not to wonder how different his progression would have been had he not had to learn from three different coordinators in three years, the latest being Martin.

Martin, though, said he didn’t sense any hesitancy from Rettig in learning another system.

“He was great,” Martin said. “He and I got a great relationship started here, and I think actually, that may be paying some dividends for him, since he’s had to learn so much since he’s been here. It’s probably accelerated his general knowledge of football to begin with. I think it will be an advantage for him.”

It remains to be seen whether it will be an advantage for BC.
The ACC will be missing one of its most accomplished running backs this season, as Boston College record-setter Montel Harris was dismissed from the team last month for a repeated violation of team rules.

Harris was the ACC’s leading rusher in 2010, the league’s preseason player of the year in 2011, and BC’s all-time leading rusher.

He wasn’t the only running back, though, on the Eagles’ depth chart.

[+] EnlargeRolandan Finch
Evan Habeeb/US PresswireRolandan Finch led Boston College with 705 rushing yards last season.
First-year offensive coordinator Doug Martin said all three of BC’s running backs -- Tahj Kimble, Rolandan Finch and Andre Williams -- will see playing time this season. With Harris sidelined with a knee injury in 2011, all three backups played in at least 10 games each, with Finch and Williams both receiving more than 100 carries. Finch was the team’s leading rusher with 705 yards and three touchdowns on 157 carries, but Kimble finished the spring atop the depth chart.

“It’s going to be running back by committee, all three are going to play and they all bring something different to the table,” Martin said. “Tajh is very versatile. He’s really good out of the backfield catching the ball, he’s got great hands. We can motion him out, use him as a wide receiver. He’s got really good vision in the hole. Finch is a bit of a bigger back, he’s good in the passing game. He’s a little bit more of a slasher-type runner. And Andre is a big, power back. He’s really a strong, strong runner. Inside is where he’s at his best, and he has really good pass protection.”

And quarterback Chase Rettig will need time to throw this fall.

Martin’s philosophy is to spread defenses out to open things up in the running game. He said he expects the offensive line to be one of the most improved groups of the offense this season, and that he was very impressed with Rettig and backup quarterback Josh Bordner. The biggest question is the depth at the receiver position.

BC has enough pieces in place, though, that Martin said the offense was able to develop an identity this spring, which was one of his primary goals.

“I think we’re a real power, downhill running team,” he said. “I think we’re a really good play-action pass team, and the players bought into what we were trying to get done. We’re trying to speed the tempo, get in and out of the huddle faster, stretch the defense a bit more. … We really want to try to make defenses have to think when they play us.”

Even without Harris, the Eagles should be able to accomplish that this fall.

Video: Best of spring -- Boston College

May, 21, 2012

Heather Dinich talks about the offensive staff overhaul as the one good thing from BC's spring practices.