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    Skip Myslenski's Boston College Primer

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    NEW WEEK. SAME OL' STORY: On its very first play in the very first game of this very new season, the Wildcats defense was attacked by the arm of Syracuse quarterback Ryan Nassib. By the time that afternoon ended, he had attempted 65 passes and completed 44. On its first three plays in its first home game of a still-new season, the 'Cat defense was attacked by the arm of Vanderbilt quarterback Jordan Rodgers. By the time this afternoon ended, he had attempted 33 passes and completed 17. Now, on Saturday, Boston College drops by Ryan Field with its own accomplished quarterback, the 6-foot-3 junior Chase Rettig.

    NEW WEEK. SAME OL' STORY: On its very first play in the very first game of this very new season, the Wildcats defense was attacked by the arm of Syracuse quarterback Ryan Nassib. By the time that afternoon ended, he had attempted 65 passes and completed 44. On its first three plays in its first home game of a still-new season, the 'Cat defense was attacked by the arm of Vanderbilt quarterback Jordan Rodgers. By the time this afternoon ended, he had attempted 33 passes and completed 17. Now, on Saturday, Boston College drops by Ryan Field with its own accomplished quarterback, the 6-foot-3 junior Chase Rettig.

    "They have an outstanding quarterback with a great group of receivers, and they've done a terrific job throwing the ball all over the yard against two good teams. So we expect the same thing," says 'Cat coach Pat Fitzgerald. "We know what's going to happen, and we'd be burying our head in the sand not to think that. We've got to take that kind of approach and that attitude, that the same thing's going to happen on Saturday."

    And what is the essence of BC's passing game?

    "It's a lot more like Syracuse than like Vanderbilt," explains Fitzgerald. "Vanderbilt's going to do a lot more play-action pass and go more horizontally. But when you look at Chase, he can make that field-out throw. That's an NFL-type throw, and I thought that Ryan Nassib could do the same thing. So what do we expect to see from them? We expect to see their base-passing plays. We expect to see double moves ... As always, we have to keep the ball inside and in front and find a way to get a pass rush."

    NEW KID ON THE BLOCK: The 'Cat defensive front, which did get some pressure on Rodgers last week, is anchored by the seniors Brian Arnfelt and Quentin Williams and the junior Tyler Scott. But abetting them in creating mayhem that day was a surprise, the true freshman end Dean Lowry, who ended his day with a fumble recovery, a quarterback hurry, two tackles and a pass deflection at the line of scrimmage. "He's played more games than he's had classes (at Northwestern)," Fitzgerald joked when asked about him, but then he got serious.

    "We loved Dean in high school from a standpoint of the effort he played with. He had great length and size and growth potential and athleticism. I went and watched him play basketball last winter. You could see his athleticism, and even more his tenacity and his toughness. He was up and down the court. It got a little chippy. He was right there in the middle of it, which is a pretty good deal for a defensive guy. And he's been as good as advertised, if not better. He's got a great work ethic about him. He's very inquisitive, he's asking a ton of questions. I guess he's not your typical freshman. Typically, the freshman is waiting for everything. But he's attacking Marty Long (the defensive line coach), wanting to know this, wanting to know that, to the point where it's like, 'All right. Relax. You just need to know this. You don't need to know coverage adjustment. Relax.' He's got a bright future ahead of him, there's no question about it."

    COURT CHAOS: Lowry himself remembered that evening Fitzgerald watched him hooping, but initially evinced amnesia when asked about the chippiness his coach recalled. But eventually, after some gentle prodding, he would admit, "I'm the type of guy, I play physical basketball. I liked to use my strength on the skinny basketball guys to push them around a little bit, and they came back at me. So. You know, it's a physical game out there."

    Then, told his coach had said that was a good attribute for a defensive player, he said, "Exactly. I'm a nice guy off the field. But on the field, I have a mean streak."

    LOOKIN' AT LOWRY: Played at Rockford Boylan, which went 28-0 and won state titles in his junior and senior years ... Played at 230 pounds in high school, but is now up to 6-foot-6, 252 ... Asked about his initial expectations, he said, "Coming in I thought I would redshirt. But I knew that there was open competition at the position, so I felt if I worked hard, added some muscle in the summertime, I could definitely compete with anybody." ... And is he surprised to be such an integral part of the defensive rotation? "Yes and no. Coming in, I didn't think I'd play. But now I think that, if I keep competing and keep improving, there's no doubt I should be in there."

    THE FLIP SIDE: This would be offensive right guard Chuck Porcelli, who is starting for the first time as a fifth-year senior. "I wouldn't say there was a temptation to forget this," he said when asked if his lack of playing time ever made him consider abandoning football. "I love being here. I love our coaches. I love going to practice. I love working hard with my teammates. These guys mean everything to me right now. It was a commitment I made and I was going to follow up on it. And being a backup, you're only a shoelace away from going in the game. So being prepared as a backup helped me prepare for this year."

    Did he ever wonder over the years if his time would ever come?

    "I never did think it would not come. What's the goal, you know? Why would you be working hard for absolutely nothing?"

    SO DIFFERENT, YET THE SAME: The newbie Lowry, you recall, described himself as a nice guy off the field who plays with a mean streak. Porcelli, the grizzled vet, said, "On the field, you have to physically impose your will on the defensive lineman, and they're trying to do the same to you. You've got to be the biggest, baddest guy out there. But off the field, I'm a nice guy. It's two totally different worlds."

    QUICKLY NOTED: Rettig, the BC quarterback, went 48-of-83 for 660 yards and five touchdowns in his team's first two games, a loss to Miami (Fla.) and a win over Maine. In those games, he was picked only once ... His favorite receiver is junior Alex Amidon, who has 16 catches for 248 yards. He is an unimposing 5-foot-11, 186 pounds. But, in high school, he was a record-setting sprinter, which means he has some hops ... The Eagles also have an experienced offensive line, which features four starters who have started double-digit games in their careers. "They've got great size. . .(like) what you might call a traditional Big Ten, run-downhill team," said Fitzgerald. "That's what they used to call the Big Ten. Well, that's what Boston College is, and they do a great job of it. We're going to be challenged out there, no question."

    AND FINALLY: On a lighter note, Fitzgerald, on the 'Cats playing four straight home games for the first time since 1934: "I feel like a major league baseball team, having a four-game home stand."

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    NU Club of LA packed our restaurant, Rush Street, for the game, and loved every minute.... Go Cats !!

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