Pitt offensive coordinator Mark Whipple will return for the 2021 season, head coach Pat Narduzzi said on Wednesday, after speculation that Whipple’s job might have been in jeopardy following a 2020 season that has the Panthers ranked 63rd in points per game with 29 and 76th in yards per game.
Narduzzi was asked about Whipple’s status following the news that quarterback Kenny Pickett will return to Pitt to play a fifth season, taking advantage of the NCAA’s blanket eligibility waiver for the 2020 season.
Pickett threw for 2,408 yards and 13 touchdowns in an injury- and schedule-shortened nine game season. Pitt played just 11 games due to the COVID-19-related reduction in schedule size across the ACC, and Pickett missed two of those and part of another with an ankle injury suffered at Boston College.
Narduzzi was asked if the felt it was safe to say that Pickett was returning with the intention of once again working with Whipple, who Pickett has repeatedly credited with his development as a quarterback.
“Yeah, it’s pretty safe to say,” Narduzzi said. “I would hope he came back to work with me.”
Whipple came to Pitt in 2018, replacing Shawn Watson, who was fired after two seasons. Whipple’s offenses have ranked 113th and 63rd in scoring. Pitt’s offense under Watson ranked 94th and 101st.