Boston College QB Rettig ready this time for Irish


Boston College QB Rettig ready this time for Irish

BOSTON (AP) Chase Rettig was well into his redshirt year when Boston College coach Frank Spaziani approached him in the weight room.

``We're going to give you an opportunity,'' Spaziani told the young quarterback.

That week, he was with the first team in practice. Six days later, he was on the field against Notre Dame.

``I was really excited,'' Rettig said. ``It was all happening so fast. It was a crazy environment. We walked out and the whole stadium was going nuts and it was all filled up. The first couple of series everything was going real fast. And once we scored it slowed down, and then unfortunately I got hurt.''

Rettig didn't get to finish that game because of a turned ankle that knocked him out in the second quarter. But he's hoping to finish the job Saturday night when the fourth-ranked and unbeaten Fighting Irish visit Chestnut Hill for another nationally televised game.

``It's a big game in that it's a huge opportunity for us to not really look at what's happened so far,'' he said this week. ``If we can play as a team and come together, and play four quarters of football and maybe have a chance to win at the end of the game then it would definitely erase everything that's happened so far.''

Notre Dame (9-0) still has an outside chance at a national championship, though it would probably need a loss by two other unbeaten teams that include Alabama, Kansas State and Oregon. Boston College (2-7) is already eliminated from bowl contention, but a victory in the ``Holy War'' against the only other Catholic school in the FBS would go a long way toward salvaging an otherwise forgettable season.

``I would rather knock Notre Dame out of the national championship than go to the Toilet Bowl,'' offensive lineman Emmett Cleary said. ``They're not Alabama, but they're a very good team. They're winners and they've pulled out a lot of close games, so we've got our work cut out for us, for sure.''

For Rettig, it's a chance to beat a team that welcomed him to NCAA football - and not all that politely.

After getting tabbed as the starter as a freshman six days before the biggest game of any Boston College season, Rettig went out and missed on his first five passes, going three-and-out on the Eagles' first three series as they fell behind 21-0. But he completed his next five, including a 58-yard touchdown pass to Bobby Swigert late in the first quarter.

Just as he seemed to be turning things around, though, he was blindsided in the pocket as he released the ball and he left the game, which Notre Dame won 31-13. Last year, Rettig was 18 for 38 for 170 yards and a touchdown in BC's 16-14 loss in South Bend, Ind.

Rettig said taking the field against Notre Dame as a freshman ``was kind of surreal.''

``I was just really excited and very thankful for the opportunity,'' he said.

A lot has changed since then.

BC has had four offensive coordinators, and the school ended a 12-year streak of bowl appearances. But Rettig has remained the starting quarterback, a rare example of stability on the BC roster.

And now, as he prepares to face the Irish again, he's better prepared.

``I'm probably the same kid with physical attributes,'' he said. ``But I'm obviously just mentally (better prepared). Mental preparation and experience helps a lot, and what you need to do in parts of the game when you're in different situations.''

Spaziani said he had little choice but to burn Rettig's redshirt year in 2010 after a shutout to Virginia Tech convinced him Dave Shinskie was not the answer.

``He took over under tremendously difficult circumstances,'' Spaziani said, adding that things only got more difficult with the injury and an offensive coordinator change. ``With some stability over there now, he's the quarterback we thought he would be. He's always been the quarterback we thought he would be, but he's producing now like you would hope he would.''

Alex Amidon, Rettig's top target, agreed.

``You can definitely tell he's grown over the past two years,'' he said. ``It was a weird situation. It was kind of all over the place at that point. It was such a big stage to start a game on: a night game against Notre Dame, you kind of expect the start that he had.''

But after the touchdown pass to Swigert, Amidon said, ``I remember the atmosphere did kind of get pretty excited.''

``We haven't had an opportunity to play a team like this this late in the season for a long time,'' he said. ``It's something to take away from the season. If we can get them, we'll look back on the season and say, `We did that.'''

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Why the trade for Radko Gudas could signal the end of Brooks Orpik’s tenure with the Caps

Why the trade for Radko Gudas could signal the end of Brooks Orpik’s tenure with the Caps

The Carolina Hurricanes ended the Capitals’ season in the first round of the playoffs and quite possibly Brooks Orpik’s career with it. The 38-year-old defenseman said at the team’s breakdown day that the decision for what comes next, whether retirement or playing another season in the NHL, would have to wait.

“I'm in no rush in terms of deciding on my future in terms of hockey,” Orpik said. “That'll be a more health-related decision down the road."

Whether Orpik wants to come back for one more year in the NHL will be up to him, but the decision on whether to re-sign with the Caps may have just been decided for him.

On Friday, the Caps traded defenseman Matt Niskanen to the Philadelphia Flyers in exchange for Radko Gudas. Most people hear the name Gudas and think of him as a dirty player who can’t play the position, but he is actually a decent defenseman. The media in Philadelphia selected Gudas as the most outstanding defenseman for the Flyers in 2018-19. Plus, his penalty minutes have decreased in each of the past four seasons from 116 all the way down to 63 last season. For reference, Tom Wilson had 128 and Michal Kempny had 60. It’s still high, but it signals a player making a conscious effort to stay out of the penalty box.

Gudas has been suspended four times in his career and he certainly will be watched very closely by the NHL’s Department of Player Safety. One big hit could mean a lengthy suspension. That is a definite concern, but in terms of just his play, there is value there as a third-pair defenseman.

With Gudas in, that will almost certainly push Orpik out.

The move gives Washington six defenseman under contract for next season. Teams will usually keep seven for the regular season, enough for three pairs and one extra. Christian Djoos is a restricted free agent and will presumably be back as well, giving Washington seven blue liners.

Djoos had a down year last season, but he did play a third-pair role on the team’s Cup run and he is only 24. It does not make sense to give up on Djoos after one bad year just for one more year with Orpik who will be 39 at the start of next season.

Given Washington’s salary cap situation, the Caps do not have room for an eighth defenseman. If Orpik were to return, it would mean pushing someone else out. The only of those seven defensemen that would make sense to even consider moving for Orpik would be Gudas.

Gudas would not be the first player in the world to be traded and then flipped or bought out soon after. Ironically, the same thing happened to Orpik last season when he was traded to and then quickly bought out by the Colorado Avalanche.

A buyout here, however, would make no sense. According to CapFriendly’s buyout calculator, a buyout would only give Washington $1,166,667 of cap relief and most of that would go to a new Orpik deal making it pointless. Yes, you still have the $3.405 million of cap space the team would have opened up in the trade, but if the plan all along was to re-sign Orpik and ship out Niskanen, then why not just trade Niskanen for draft picks? Then you get his full cap off the books instead of having to go through the trouble of buying out Gudas and having him count against the cap for the next two seasons. That would make no sense.

As for flipping him and trading him to another team, what would the team get for him that would make it worthwhile? You cannot bring on salary or it defeats the purpose so the Caps’ options for a return would likely be limited to players of the same caliber and cap hit. What would be the point of that?

Prior to this deal, Djoos and Jonas Siegenthaler were the most likely candidates to play on the third pair next season. Both are left shots. Gudas is a right-shot defenseman which now gives Washington three with John Carlson and Nick Jensen. Gudas also plays with a physical edge. Sometimes he goes too far with it, but so long as he can control himself, he would add the physical presence to the blue line that the team stands to lose with Orpik gone.

There is no reason to trade for Gudas unless the team intended for Gudas to play a role next season. General manager Brian MacLellan chose to trade for a player who is a right-shot, physical, third-pair defenseman which is pretty much exactly the hole they needed to fill on their blue line and essentially the spot Orpik will be vacating. That did not just happen by accident.


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Nationals call up Adrian Sanchez, place Kyle Barraclough on 10-day injured list

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Nationals call up Adrian Sanchez, place Kyle Barraclough on 10-day injured list

WASHINGTON -- Manager Davey Martinez wasn’t sure postgame Saturday what’s wrong with reliever Kyle Barraclough.

The right-hander’s velocity is down, his slider flat and too true, his results poor. Barraclough left the mound Saturday at dusk with a 6.39 ERA. He’s allowed seven home runs in 25 ⅓ innings this season. Little he has tried has worked. And his time on the team may be short.

Utility infielder Adrian Sanchez will join the team Sunday. Sanchez’s departure from Double-A Harrisburg was reported Saturday night by Mick Reinhard, who covers the Senators, and noted Sanchez’s early removal from the game.

Barraclough will be the one leaving to make room for Sanchez on the roster, the Nationals placing him on the 10-day injured list with radial nerve irritation Sunday. Barraclough could be sent on an extended rehabilitation in the minor leagues, as the Nationals did with Trevor Rosenthal. At a minimum, Washington goes from an eight-man bullpen to a five-man bench, finally delivering Martinez more versatility at the plate and in the field.

Barraclough and left-hander Tony Sipp were rarely used in the last three weeks. A week passed between appearances for Barraclough from the end of May to the start of June. Sipp pitched Sunday for just the fifth time since May 24.

Removing Barraclough from the roster is another layer of indictment for the Nationals' offseason bullpen plan. They acquired Barraclough via trade with Miami for international slot money. He was supposed to pitch the seventh inning on a regular basis, Rosenthal the eighth and Sean Doolittle the ninth. That lineup has been disastrous outside of Doolittle, compromising the entire season.

Rosenthal’s travails are well-documented. He pitched again Saturday, walked the first batter on four pitches, walked the second batter, then allowing a single to load the bases with no outs. He eventually allowed just a run. His ERA is 19.50 following the outing. It’s the first time this season Rosenthal’s ERA is under 20.00.

While trying to fix Rosenthal, and trying to hang on with Barraclough, the Nationals have turned to Wander Suero and Tanner Rainey to handle the seventh and eighth innings ahead of Doolittle. Few would have predicted that combination before the season began. Despite the relative concern, no one would have predicted the Nationals’ bullpen to be among the worst in the league for much of the season, but has turned out to be just that.