PITTSBURGH — In the first three games for offensive coordinator Mark Whipple, there has been some ups and downs. But it seems to the veteran coach that more ups are on the horizon.
Last week against a solid Penn State defense, Kenny Pickett threw throw the ball for 372 yards. However, the Panthers struggled mightily in the running game as well as cashing in on touchdowns during their multiple long distant drives.
Whipple is pleased with his team’s passing game at the moment. Now he’s at work on evening out the offense.
“We have to be a little more balanced [in the running game], but I think Penn State had a little bit to do with it,” Whipple said after practice on Tuesday. “I like the way our guys looked at practice today but we got to do a better job schematically … And I got to call better plays, really.”
This week against No. 15 UCF they will against will face another prominent defensive unit.
“They are so good defensively, they create turnovers, they lead the country in tackles for loss,” said Whipple. “We know we have to put points on the board.”
Whipple had high praise for current UCF defensive coordinator, Randy Shannon. He and Shannon had worked together for two years when they were both on the Miami coaching staff.
“[Shannon] gets players to play above their talent level, “Whipple said. “The kids believe in what they are doing.”
The state of Florida is known as a hotbed of football talent and Whipple knows that this UCF defense is filled with a ton of that talent. They also present a ton of challenges in the different ways that they attack you.
“They are really good in one-on-ones, they have speed,” Whipple said. “They recruited really well … We’ll get their best shot.”
Whipple has been impressed with the steps that Pickett has made early on in this season.
“I think every day [he has taken those steps forward] … I think we’re getting on a much better page,” said Whipple. “There’s no question that there has been improvement from the first game.”
The Pitt offense will have to pull it all together and become the unit that Whipple thinks it can be.
“We have a good defense and a good team,” Whipple said. “We need to help each other out.”