New ACC coaches turning to players for help in transition

By Chip Patterson | College Writer

Boston College quarterback Chase Rettig answers questions at 2013 ACC football kickoff. (USATSI)
Boston College quarterback Chase Rettig answers questions at 2013 ACC football kickoff. (USATSI)

GREENSBORO, N.C. -- For Boston College quarterback Chase Rettig, coaching transitions have been one of the few consistent aspects of his career with the Eagles. Rettig is currently playing for his fifth coordinator, Ryan Day, in three and a half years, something that has shaped his development as a quarterback.

"When you go into every spring ball, it's like you're a freshman again," Rettig said.

Rettig is just one of six seniors with new head coaches at the 2013 ACC football kickoff. Steve Addazio was hired as Boston College's new head coach in December, bringing yet another change to Rettig's career after the tumultuous final years under Frank Spaziani. Luckily for him, the senior quarterback is able to put everything in perspective -- and even believes there is something to be gained from the experience.

"Ideally, you don't want to have five coordinators in three and a half years," Rettig said. "You'd like to have some consistency so that you can begin to master the offense. You've got to take away from it that you're also learning new systems, so your knowledge of the game is expanding.

"When you're a quarterback, there's so much terminology and you need to process it all faster. You need to help the wide receivers, the running backs, the tight ends all get to the right spot."

That kind of senior leadership was the common thread in discussing the transition with player representatives from Boston College, NC State and Syracuse. Orange offensive lineman Macky MacPherson said Syracuse coach Scott Shafer, who was promoted from defensive coordinator after the departure of Doug Marrone, has taken a step back and allowed the staff and the upperclassmen take on leadership roles in the program.

"I think he's done everything he needs to do to get this team together," MacPherson said. "He's got a great staff in, he's got a great freshman class in, and at the same time he's let the seniors build this leadership role without him being too involved. I think that's one of the things that's the most impressive, he's let the seniors do what they need to do, and he doesn't want to get involved."

New NC State coach Dave Doeren has a similar setup for the Wolfpack, assembling a leadership council with two players from every position. Senior wide receiver Rashard Smith, is a member of the leadership council.

"We come together, we meet about certain things; from how hard we are going in the weight room to what kind of food we like for breakfast," Smith said. "We talk about everything. Being a senior on the leadership council, we are trying to bring other players along so we can come together as one team."

The players have paved the way for these first-year coaches, but all three have the unfortunate circumstance of playing in the Atlantic Division. Annual meetings with Florida State and Clemson, arguably the two strongest programs in the modern-day ACC, will make for a rough welcome party this fall. But in a sport that needs as many coaches on the field as on the sideline, it sounds like all three have a willing group of leaders in their senior class.

 
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