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Thursday, August 1, 2013
Eagles coach and QB on the same page

By Jack McCluskey

Because of the circumstances, it was never going to be a long relationship.

Steve Addazio is entering his first season as the head coach at Boston College at the same time Chase Rettig is entering his final season as the starting quarterback.

So while Addazio is planning long-term, Rettig couldn’t be blamed for thinking short-term. He’s got dreams, like most kids his age in his situation (those magic letters N-F-L must dance through his mind when it’s not otherwise occupied).

Would you fault a soon-to-be 22-year-old for putting himself first once in a while?

But that’s not at all what the new coach has seen from his quarterback so far.

Instead, less than a week before preseason camp started, Addazio ticked off a list of things about Rettig that has impressed him.

“Unselfish; really cares about the team; wants to have a great year for the team; really into what we’re doing,” Addazio said. “He’s a guy who could easily say, ‘Oh, I’ve had all these coordinators,’ and could play that whole routine. No. He gets it. He’s a sharp guy and he gets it.

“He’s all about maximizing our team. I really like him a lot.”

And while it’s true that Rettig has had a lot of offensive coordinators, with Ryan Day making five in the four years he’s been in Chestnut Hill, he’s not using it as an excuse. Instead, the senior told reporters at ACC media day that by this point he’s used to learning a new system and is ready to help teach it to his younger teammates.

Raising a few eyebrows, Rettig said he feels “like I’m a professional.” But the 6-foot-3, 206-pounder wasn’t talking about getting paid, he was talking about his approach to the work.

That’s something his new coach appreciates.

“I told him, ‘You know, you’re gonna get measured. Quarterbacks are measured by their ability to win. We’ve gotta win games,'" he said. “That’s what it is. He’s gotta be a leader.”

Rettig will have to lead BC’s offense knowing that his new coach has made it abundantly clear that ideally he prefers a dual-threat quarterback to run his system.

“I just think that’s where it is in college football,” Addazio said. “You’ve gotta extend plays in college football, in my opinion, and I think that’s what a dual-threat quarterback will help you do, extend plays. I don’t mean the guy’s gotta be an option guy, necessarily, I’m just saying a guy who can extend plays, keep you alive, keep the chains moving. Go get 7 yards and get down on third down.”

But since Rettig is not exactly the fleetest of foot, Addazio and Day will adapt their offensive game plan for this season to fit the Sierra Madre, Calif., native. The pocket passer became the fourth quarterback in BC history to crack the 3,000-yard mark in a single season, throwing 463 times (completing 253) for 3,055 yards and 17 touchdowns (with 13 interceptions) in 2012.

“We’re gonna establish a run game,” Addazio said. “We’re gonna do that, because you can’t win if you don’t have any kind of run game. But the rest of it, I think you’ve gotta match to what you are and who you have.

“Chase is not a runner. We’re not gonna start running the heck out of Chase. So how do we accentuate his ability to throw the football? We’ve gotta have a run game.”

The Eagles finished last in the ACC in rushing last season, averaging less than 100 yards a game as a team.

Expect Addazio’s first order of business this summer to be addressing that deficiency, one that is especially glaring at a school like BC, which in its heyday was known for a lockdown defense and a physical running game.

From the sound of it, you can also expect to hear more praise of the player taking the snaps this season.

“I think he’s gonna really be that guy this year,” Addazio said of Rettig. “That’s my gut feeling, if he stays healthy.”

Jack McCluskey is an editor for ESPN.com and a frequent contributor to ESPNBoston.com. Follow him on Twitter @jack_mccluskey.