Heavy is the crown on any starting quarterback, but heavier still was the burden Boston College’s Chase Rettig put on himself after he was held to 57 passing yards and sacked four times in a 34-10 setback at North Carolina last Saturday.
“You’ve got guys who don’t like ball. Some like ball, some love ball, and then there are those guys where it’s their whole world,’’ said BC coach Steve Addazio. “One thing about Chase Rettig, it really is his world. That’s what I really like about Chase. It’s really important to Chase.”
When the Eagles returned to Chestnut Hill, Addazio could see that the second-worst passing performance of Rettig’s career was still weighing on him.
“Yeah, it was on him heavy,’’ Addazio said. “And I understand, because when it is your world, you’re taking it on yourself heavy and you can’t shrug it off. I get a little concerned when some guys can shrug it off a little too easy.”
With a huge conference home game looming Saturday against Virginia Tech, and its vaunted third-ranked defense, Addazio had a sit-down Monday with Rettig. The coach reassured his quarterback that it was not the time to begin doubting himself or looking over his shoulder.
“I told him, ‘Listen, man, we all make good plays and bad plays,’ ” said Addazio. “ ‘We all are in this thing and, hey, you’re in the arena right now. You’re on this stage. You’ve got to deal with it. You’ve got to get ready to roll. Don’t get too hung up on it.’ ”
It was precisely the message Rettig needed to hear.
“Me and him are on the same page,’’ Rettig said. “There are a lot of aspects that come with the responsibility of being the quarterback. Like I said, we just have to play better as a team and continue to practice and go really hard in practice.
“It’s really nice that he wanted to talk because he’s in that same kind of situation where we’re both extremely responsible for things and he understands that. He just said to keep working hard and rally these guys together.’’
It will be imperative for Rettig to be more precise against the Hokies’ pass defense, which ranks second in the country and has a nation-leading 17 interceptions. The tight windows Rettig usually encounters are likely to become even tighter against Virginia Tech.
“Statistically, they’re great against the pass and they get a lot of sacks and they put a lot of pressure on the quarterback,’’ said Rettig. “A lot of guys have had problems against them. We just have to do our best.
“I know it sounds a lot like the typical answers I give you every week, but we’ve got to go hard this week in practice, get prepared, the coaches are going to have the game plan set and we just have to do a good job of executing it and be positive and play with confidence in each other and we’ll be OK.”
Complicating matters is that the Eagles lost wideout Spiffy Evans to a season-ending fractured clavicle in the second half at UNC.
“I just think the whole offense takes it on their shoulders,’’ said wideout Alex Amidon. “We had too many mistakes in the mental game and, as a whole, we all take that on our shoulders and just not Chase.
“I mean, say I miss a read or I run the wrong route, no one knows about it. They just see Chase.’’
What no one sees is the cascading set of problems Rettig must deal with when the pocket begins to crumble after he is unable to target an open receiver.
“Exactly,” said Amidon. “There are a lot of different things that could go into a play. It would obviously look negative on him if something else happened. From an outsider’s perspective, it may look like it’s all his fault, but everyone, we all know what went wrong and I don’t think it’s anyone’s — it’s the offense as a whole.’’
That doesn’t stop Rettig from shouldering the responsibility.
“Oh, everybody does it,” said Amidon. “He puts it on himself. I put it on myself. I think everyone’s kind of taken responsibility on the offense.’’
As difficult as it was, Rettig said he has turned the page.
“We’re moving forward,’’ he said. “Let’s play better together as a team. We got a home game and we’re plenty capable of executing and doing a good job.’’
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In addition to Evans, BC will be without six other players: center Paul Gaughan (knee), offensive lineman Win Homer (head), linebacker Josh Keyes (head), wide receiver Nigel Matthews (head), defensive back Spenser Rositano (head), and linebacker Michael Strizak (head) are also out.