NEWTON, Mass. -- By this point, he’s almost used to it.
Since Chase Rettig came to Chestnut Hill, he’s had to learn a new offensive system every year. As a true freshman he learned under Gary Tranquill. As a sophomore, his coordinator was Kevin Rogers … and then it was Dave Brock, who took over after Rogers took a medical leave of absence.
As a junior, Rettig has had to learn yet another system, this time under new coordinator Doug Martin. At this point, the QB thinks he’s gotten pretty good at learning new sets of terminology and philosophy.
“First of all, Chase has adapted real well to Coach Martin,” BC head coach Frank Spaziani said at the team’s media day. “He has two years under his belt, 20-some odd games starting, he has that experience. He likes everything that we’re doing.
“He and Doug get along real well. Doug is extremely high on his progression since he’s gotten here this spring. We’re happy with where he’s at. He’s making good decisions.”
Spaziani hopes he made a good decision with Martin, the fourth offensive coordinator in the past three years. In that time, BC’s win total has gone from eight to seven to four. A sputtering offense has been a big reason for that.
The Eagles averaged 24.8 points in 2009, ninth in the ACC and tied for 76th in the country. In 2010, that average dropped to 18.5 points a game and the Eagles ranked last in the ACC and 109th overall. In 2011, the average dropped again, to 18.2 points a game, and the Eagles ranked last in the ACC and 112th overall.
With Martin in the fold, and with another year of experience for the young players forming the core of the BC offense, the Eagles hope to dramatically improve those numbers this season. Rettig obviously will play a big part in that effort.
BC’s leading receiver last season believes Rettig has what it takes.
“In practice, he knows exactly what he’s doing,” Bobby Swigert said. “He understands the offense. I think this offense is very good for a quarterback. He doesn’t have a lot of checks at the line.
“I think everybody can see that he has the big-time arm, everybody knows he has the talent. He’s a competitor. It’s not something, ‘Well, he freezes up in big games.’ It’s just more of a mental aspect and just getting acclimated to the offense. It’s tough learning a new offense every year, especially on a quarterback. He has to know what everybody’s doing on every play.”
At media day, Rettig sounded confident that he has a grasp of things.
“This has definitely been beneficial to our offense and to our team,” he said of the change in systems. “This spring, we got used to the plays. I think being in different offenses has helped me get used to the terminology. I was able to learn it a little bit faster than the rest of the guys.
“My big thing this camp is being an extension of Coach Martin and being a coach, kind of, on the field and helping guys.”
The Eagles plan to push the tempo under Martin, and they sound excited about it.
“When we get to the line of scrimmage, we’ll be able to manipulate the defense instead of vice versa,” Rettig said.
Swigert, whose 44 catches in 2011 paced the offense, agreed with his good friend.
“The past two years I feel like we’ve come out of the huddle and we’ve set up and looked around and tried to read the defense and they’d be able to disguise their blitzes very well and it would be tough to see what they’re in,” Swigert said. “Right now it’s more like ‘OK, we’re going up to the line 100 miles an hour and we’re running this and stop it if you can. If not, we’re going to burn you.’”
The coaching staff has been working hard to get the players used to the new speed of their game.
“The only way you can do it is just repeatedly do it in practice every day,” Swigert said. “The one thing they harp on us the most is keeping that tempo up because that’s the only way we’re going to be successful.”
For Emmett Cleary, the senior offensive lineman who’s making the switch from right tackle to left this season, the biggest thing the Eagles’ offense needs to work on is consistency.
“A lot of plays last year we’d have it blocked up and we’d miss a read or we’d have the open receiver we wanted and drop the ball or we’d have the right play called and miss a block,” he said. “We have plenty of talent in the room, it’s kind of an accountability thing. Just getting everybody together and (getting them to understand) the urgency of every down. We can potentially do a big thing.”
But for that to happen, the offense has to click on all cylinders. And that will require a big step forward from Rettig, who in 2011 ranked near the bottom of the ACC in nearly every passing category (11th in completion percentage, tied for 10th in yards per completion, 10th in QB rating, 11th in yards per game).
“As we’ve said all along, Chase spends a lot of time, it’s important to him,” Spaziani said. “We think he has the physical skills and we think we have things in place for him to excel, we have the right platform for him. Now we’ve got to do it.”
Jack McCluskey is an editor for ESPN.com and a frequent contributor to ESPNBoston.com. Follow him on Twitter @jack_mccluskey.