When Boston College senior captains Ian White and Kasim Edebali walk to midfield at Alumni Stadium for the coin toss of Saturday’s opener against Villanova, senior quarterback Chase Rettig says it won’t bother him in the least that he won’t be there to make the call.
Rettig says he’s fine with the team’s decision to select White, a right tackle, and Edebali, a fifth-year defensive end, as captains.
“There’s a lot that’s gone on since I’ve been here, but there’s a lot of deserving guys,’’ said Rettig, a three-year starter who will be making his 34th career start — and 33d in a row — when the Eagles, in coach Steve Addazio’s debut, attempt to bury last season’s 2-10 record.
“It’s something that everyone wants to be, obviously,’’ Rettig said. “But it’s not something I take time on or worry about.’’
After becoming the fourth player in BC history to throw for more than 3,000 yards in a season (3,065), Rettig knows his teammates will be counting on him to fulfill a vital role.
“Being quarterback, you’re a leader just because of the position,’’ he said. “So I just try to take advantage of my position on the team and get us in the right play. Then when we get back on the sidelines, I’ll try to take a leadership role — whether it be coming off after a bad drive or a good drive — and try to find a way to fix it and score more points.’’
Rettig’s teammates know it’s not necessary for the 6-foot-3-inch, 206-pounder to carry a captain’s title to give him license to be a leader.
“We always say it doesn’t matter if you’re a captain or not, it’s upperclassmen leadership,” Edebali said. “So the eyes are always on you, because you’ve always got to lead by example, especially if you’re a junior or senior.”
Rettig will find himself at the controls of an offense Addazio said needed to be more balanced than last year. To meet that objective, Addazio said it was imperative to establish a running game by utilizing powerful senior back Andre Williams and an offensive line anchored by White and newcomer Matt Patchan, a former five-star recruit at the University of Florida who will be playing out his eligibility as BC’s left tackle.
“Our offensive philosophy is going to be one of complete balance,’’ Addazio said. “We need to be able to bring our run game in here.’’
While Addazio promised “a lot of philosophical changes’’ from last year’s offense, the coach insisted, “We’re certainly going to utilize the talents of the players we have. To think we’re not going to utilize Chase Rettig’s ability to throw the football, of course we were. He’s a proven thrower. We’re absolutely going to do that.’’
When asked what he hoped to see from Rettig in the opener, offensive coordinator Ryan Day made it clear: “leadership.’’
“He’s got to take the next step in leading men down the field, leading the team to victory,” said Day, Rettig’s fifth offensive coordinator in four seasons. “Because there will be a lot of guys who are in there for the first time and he’s got to show them the way.
“He’s been out there before and he’s experienced some of these games and that’s the thing, at the end of the day, those kids can look to. He’s got credibility in what he’s saying because he’s been there before and he’s been under fire. So he’s got to do a good job of leading those kids and holding those kids to a high level of play.’’
Among them, senior wideout Alex Amidon, who emerged as Rettig’s favorite target last season, setting school records for receptions (78) and receiving yards (1,210) to earn All-Atlantic Coast Conference first-team honors.
“He’s got a real good presence to him when he comes into the huddle,’’ Amidon said of Rettig. “In the game, he never really, you don’t see him — if something bad happens — you don’t see him [get rattled]. It gives the rest of the team confidence.’’
Rettig’s pocket presence and poise is all about being a leader.
“I don’t look at it as a burden, really,’’ said Rettig. “I mean, it’s your responsibility and I want to be that guy that guys lean on.
“We’ve got a lot of guys on offense with some years under their belt. So at the end of the day, we just want to execute and perform to the best of our abilities. Everyone can lead, you know?’’
But how does he expect to assert his leadership?
“There’s different ways you can lead,’’ Rettig said. “You need to be a voice at some point maybe when things are going wrong. There are different situations and criteria to what you’re going to say when you’re trying to lead. You’ve just got to pick the best ways to influence the guys to play as hard as they can, whether it’s coming off a great drive, or a bad drive when you need to make some corrections and you need to be on the same page. I’m just trying to be a knowledgable guy for the rest of the guys on the unit. I think those guys can look to me and know that I know what’s going on.’’
As he enters his final season, the Eagles will be relying upon Rettig’s experience and grasp of the offense to provide steady stewardship.
Asked if last season, BC’s worst since 1978 (0-11), still weighed upon him, Rettig replied, “It’s a new season, so it’s something that’s in the back of your head, but it’s not something you want to necessarily weigh on.
“If guys want to do that for motivation, they can. But it’s a new season, we’ve got a new leader, and I’m just looking forward to playing the best football I can on Saturday.’’
Michael Vega can be reached at email@example.com.