BC’s Spaziani in search of leaders

By Mark Blaudschun
Globe Staff / April 16, 2011

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The worry lines on Boston College football coach Frank Spaziani’s face come not from having enough talent to compete in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

No, in his third year as the head man, Spaziani is steadily building a strong core.

What has Spaziani fretting these days is the inexperience and a lack of senior leadership, which has been the foundation for the Eagles’ success the past several years.

“We are,’’ said Spaziani, pausing to emphasize the next word, “young.

“We have to find leaders. We have only five fifth-year seniors, which is the fewest we have had in long time.’’

Spaziani knows he has months to speed up the aging process, although once today’s Jay McGillis intrasquad game ends, it will be late August before he’ll be able to gauge leadership qualities again.

He also knows he has a potential leader, if not future star, in sophomore quarterback Chase Rettig.

Rettig, who took over as the starter midway through last season, has become more comfortable in his role. And to the delight of BC’s new offensive coordinator Kevin Rogers, much of Rettig’s improvement is self-motivated.

“He wants to be a good player,’’ said Rogers, who has worked consistently with Rettig since he took over for the retired Gary Tranquill in February. “He’s around [the football offices] all the time. He’s proactive in his own development. And he has a little bit of swagger, which you like to see in your QBs.’’

Rettig said he has made significant strides following a steady freshman season — 1,238 passing yards, 6 TDs, and 9 interceptions in nine games.

“I’m understanding the coverage more and recognizing defensive fronts,’’ said Rettig. “Coach Rogers and I talk a lot and it has helped a lot. I definitely feel more comfortable this year. Having that experience last season helped me grow into a better person. But I need to be a better leader. I feel a lot more comfortable now talking to guys in the huddle, telling them if I think they are doing something wrong.’’

Rogers is very much aware that Rettig is only a true sophomore. “Sometimes he’s tougher on himself than anybody,’’ said Rogers. “I tell him you can get down on yourself but you can’t exhibit that to the team.’’

Spaziani said the team that the public will see in today’s game will be a shell of the team he hopes to field next fall. Starters such as running backs Montel Harris and Andre Williams and wide receiver Colin Larmond Jr. are recovering from injuries and will not play in the spring, which is mostly about conditioning.

After an uneven scrimmage, both offensively and defensively, last week, Spaziani joked, “Hopefully we can win the spring game,’’ he said. “We still have a long way to go.’’

What makes this spring game different from the last two Spaziani conducted is that he is reasonably sure who his starting quarterback will be, and knows what to expect from him as he continues to mature.

“You can see [Rettig] is getting better,’’ said Spaziani. “He’s not looking over his shoulder as much. He’s more comfortable with what he is doing.’’

And Spaziani is clearly more comfortable letting him do it.

Mark Blaudschun can be reached at

Jay McGillis memorial game
BC football exhibition.
When: Today, 1 p.m.
Where: Alumni Stadium.