When Boston College travels to Las Cruces for the program’s first game against New Mexico State Saturday, the Eagles will encounter a familiar face: Aggies coach Doug Martin, who last season served as BC’s offensive coordinator.
“We worked together last year and he helped to develop me as a quarterback,’’ said BC’s Chase Rettig, who counted Martin as the fourth of five offensive coordinators he’s had in four seasons at the Heights.
“When I see him I’m sure I’ll say hello to him,’’ Rettig said. “But the big thing is that you’ve got to get ready for this weekend’s game and all that — you just have to keep it on the outside, I guess.’’
Martin will bring some counter-intelligence to the table, having been acquainted with some of BC’s biggest offensive weapons. He’s worked with players such as Rettig, senior wideout Alex Amidon, who established season school records for receptions (78) and receiving yards (1,210) during Martin’s tenure, and Andre Williams, the Atlantic Coast Conference’s leading rusher.
Rettig is not concerned in the least about Martin’s familiarity with BC’s personnel.
“I think people know what we’re trying to do every game,’’ he said, no doubt referring to BC’s commitment to the running game.
This season, the Eagles have made no secret of the fact they intend to feed Williams every chance they can in establishing one of the league’s most punishing running attacks that averages 179.0 yards per game. Facing a 1-8 New Mexico State squad that ranks last in the nation in rushing defense, allowing 312.1 yards per game, it’s likely BC will feed the Aggies a heavy dosage of Williams.
“Andre was there last year when I was there and he was hurt a little bit but he’s a solid back,’’ Martin said. “He’s a good ACC back, and he’s having a tremendous year. I know one thing: You don’t want to hit him up high. You hit him up high and he’s going to go right through you. So it’s going to be critical to get hats around the ball.’’
Said Williams, “I really don’t think we’re going to try to do anything different. Our offense is predicated on running the ball and we’re going to do it to the best of our ability.’’
In BC’s 34-27 victory over Virginia Tech last Saturday, Williams ran roughshod over the Hokies’ third-ranked defense, which was fifth in the nation against the rush. Williams ran for 166 yards and a pair of scores, including a 62-yarder that broke the Hokies’ will.
New Mexico State, meanwhile, gave up a season-high 541 yards rushing in a 66-17 loss to intrastate rival New Mexico in Albuquerque. The most yards the Aggies have allowed an opposing runner was 167 yards to both San Diego State’s Donne Pumphrey and Rice’s Charles Ross.
“Defensively, we’ve played hard,’’ Martin said. “But our Achilles’ heel is stopping the run, which is going to be really critical to who we’re playing this week.’’
Williams, who has rushed for 1,176 yards and 10 touchdowns this season, was excited about the potential for a banner day against the Aggies’ porous rushing defense.
“It’s exciting,’’ he said. “I’m just making sure I’m watching the film to see where the weaknesses are on the defense to make sure that I’m ready for it on Saturday.’’
When informed that New Mexico State’s Davis Cazares, a 6-foot, 203-pound strong safety, leads the Aggies in tackles with 76, Williams said it was indicative of one thing.
“It means he’s going to be down in the box,’’ Williams said. “But that’s what I’ve been seeing all year, so it’s really nothing different to me.’’
Like Rettig, Williams was not concerned about Martin’s presence on New Mexico State’s sideline.
“He’s not a defensive guy,’’ Williams said. “He was the O-coordinator when he was here, so I’m not really too sure what he can really get from understanding what we were in the past, because we’re a whole different team right now. “Michael Vega can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.