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11 for '11: The Maturation Of Chase Rettig

As we near the start of fall camp, this series explores 11 topics and themes related to the 2011 Boston College Eagles football season.

Going into the 2011 season one of Boston College's biggest question marks is at the quarterback position. Last season we all watched as Dave Shinskie scuffled for four games in the early season, struggling mightily against Virginia Tech and N.C. State. The fanbase was happy when Shinskie was benched, Chase Rettig was given the starting job and thrown into the fire against Notre Dame. The results were not pretty. Last season was a typical year for a freshman quarterback. Rettig had his high points (Duke) and his low points (Nevada), but many questions remained about his talent.

Is he capable of being a reliable starting quarterback? Was he just a victim of the freshman jitters? How much of this was Gary Tranquill's fault? What can we expect of him in his second season?

First, let's take a look at how Chase compared against previous Boston College QB's in their first year as starting QB. Some of the guys on the list -- Paul Peterson, Matt Ryan -- took over at varying points of the season, so data like yards and total touchdowns might not be the most accurate way to look at the data. But other data like completion percentage and TD:INT ratio might be a better barometer of the success each QB had:

Paul Peterson 84 147 57% 1,124 10 7 1.4
Quinton Porter 140 250 56% 1,764 14 6 2.3
Matt Ryan 121 195 62% 1,514 8 5 1.6
Dominique Davis 63 138 46% 741 6 4 1.5
Dave Shinskie 148 287 52% 2,041 15 14 1.1
Chase Rettig 100 195 51% 1,238 6 9 0.66

This data is a little unnerving for Rettig, who appears to be lag behind every BC quarterback in recent memory. He has the lowest completion percentage and the weakest TD:INT ratio. But was this a product of the system that he was thrown into? Look at Dave Shinskie. He had the same coaching staff as Rettig and had numbers that were equally as terrible. Probably not a stretch to say that Gary Tranquill has to be given part of the blame for BC's quarterback struggles.  

Could a new offensive coordinator help Rettig adjust and be better prepared for the 2011 season? Kevin Rogers came into a similar situation in Notre Dame and helped Jarious Jackson improve drastically in one season:

Jarious Jackson (1998): 104-of-188, 1,740 yards, 13 TD, 6 INT, 174.0 YPG, 55.3 Comp. Pct.
Jarious Jackson (1999): 184-of-316, 2,753 yards, 17 TD, 14 INT, 229.4 YPG, 58.2 Comp. Pct.

You can see Jackson improved in all the areas BC fans are looking for Rettig to improve in -- higher completion percentage, more TD passes and more yards per game. As we all know, Rogers also had a lot of success with Donovan McNabb, Marcus Vick and Bryan Randall who all had monster seasons in college.

Rogers might just be the person to "turn the switch" in Rettig that turns him into the confident quarterback BC fans have been aching for since Matt Ryan was drafted. From what his teammates said yesterday at the ACC Kickoff event, it appears that Chase Rettig's teammates are confident he will take those steps forward in 2011:

"More comfortable...more poise...he understands college football, time management." - Kuechly

"Expect a more confident and knowledgeable QB Chase Rettig. He's able to read defenses better now." - Harris

It is a bit unfair to use Matt Ryan as the gold standard for Rettig's success and failure. But if Rettig can make improvements his sophomore year -- something Dave Shinskie failed to do -- then BC fans will see a much improved quarterback who may surprise some doubters.