As fall camp is underway, this series explores 11 topics and themes related to the 2011 Boston College Eagles football season. Previously in this series we covered The Maturation of Chase Rettig and Consistency in the Secondary.
Much has been made about the difficult stretch of game Boston College will be playing in October. Starting with Clemson in Death Valley on October 8th there are no "gimmes" for the remainder of the season. It will be essential that BC start off the season strong especially on offense against two solid opponents (Northwestern and UCF), and three easier opponents (Duke, Wake Forest, and UMass).
Starting off strong is important for a variety of reasons, one being the implementation of Kevin Rogers' new offensive system. If they can not score on a team like NU, then how are they going to stand a chance against Florida State or Virginia Tech? These first few games will really set the table on what we should expect out of our offense. Will it be the same stuck in the mud gameplan as 2010 under Gary Tranquill? Or will we see a new system that can move the ball downfield and utilize the great field position the defense puts them.
BC is lucky in one sense, because they face Northwestern first, and their defense is putrid. Opening day should set the table for the remainder of the season, because we are going to get the chance to finally see if Chase Rettig has matured like he and everyone else has claims he has, or if he still has the happy feet that he had during his freshman campaign. In order to silence his doubters he won't need to go throw for throw with Dan Persa (that's being unrealistic), but we are going to need to see some of that confidence and comfort throwing the ball, and especially handling defensive pressure.
UCF will be a whole other animal for BC. Unlike Northwestern, the Knights have a very strong defense one that completely shut down Aaron Murray and the Georgia Bulldogs last year in the Liberty Bowl. This will be Rettig and Co.'s first real test against a good defense, plus it's on the road. Can Rettig handle the pressure on the road? The defense should be able to contain Jeff Godfrey and force him to pass, which plays right into the teeth of the BC defense. But again the real question will be Chase Rettig. If he can minimize mistakes, and make good choices, BC should be able to escape with a victory. This could be a pinnacle point in the young QB's career, and one of those "Matt Ryan vs VT" moments that builds Rettig's legacy at BC. And the benefit wouldn't just be for the QB, beating a team like UCF would be huge for the entire teams confidence.
Duke, Wake Forest and UMass. Kevin Rogers and company needs to light them up. No mercy. No surrender. Guns out "Say hello to my little friend" type of beat down. This should be BC's chance to really open up the offensive playbook and see what wrinkles Kevin Rogers can come up with. Run reverses, 5 WR sets, send guys deep, let Rettig air it out. Have fun, but blow them out. No close games please. These three games should be the ultimate springboard for the BC offense. I want to see gawdy numbers after this game, stats that make a fantasy college football fan drool.
Winning the first five games should invigorate BC and their fans, and set them up with the energy and gameplan to take on any team. The last thing we want to see is Rettig throwing bad interceptions, missing wide open targets or getting cases of the happy feet. Because if that happens it could to a very long season. But if the offense settles down, Rettig picks up Rogers system and implements it efficiently, the first five games could establish BC as a very dangerous team in the ACC. And a team that many opponents will dread facing.