Connect with us
PSN is sponsored by Beaver County Auto

Opinion

Vukovcan: Pitt Will Have Strong OC Options after Whipple Departure

Published

on

The Pitt football program continues to dominate the local sports headlines.

Days after winning their first ACC football championship, the Panthers are making news for a somewhat surprising coaching move, as Mark Whipple has resigned as offensive coordinator.

I termed this as surprising news but that’s not really the case. In reality, Whipple was back at Pitt this season solely because of Kenny Pickett making the decision to return to play another season. If Pickett had made the decision to enter the 2021 NFL Draft, Whipple likely would’ve resigned prior to this season. It would not shock me if Whipple returning in 2021 was a must for Pickett returning for another season. He was a fan of Whipple, along with being appreciative of what he’s done for his development as a quarterback. Pickett wouldn’t have wanted to have yet another offensive coordinator for his final college season.

During his time in a Pitt uniform, Pickett has played in offensive systems under Matt Canada, Shawn Watson and Whipple, learning a fourth system as he attempted to improve his NFL Draft stock likely was something he wouldn’t have been interested in doing.

I don’t believe it’s too strong of a statement to say that Pickett and Whipple were tied at the hip and in some ways were a package deal for 2021. Now that Pitt’s goal for 2021 was accomplished, it was time to move on to future, which certainly didn’t include Whipple as offensive coordinator.

The question now is who does Narduzzi look to hand the keys off to for this suddenly exciting Pitt offense.

This is obviously a very important hire because of what the offense meant to this year’s team. The high-powered Panthers offense was the reason for Pitt winning the ACC Championship because for the first time in many, many, many years they were able to get in a shooting match with opposing teams and simply outscore them. In years past, if the opposition would score 30+ against Pitt, they would have struggled to match that but not with this 2021 Whipple led offense. I realize that Pickett should get a majority of the credit for the success, but Whipple’s contribution can’t just be ignored. That would be wrong and not fair to him.

Despite losing Pickett, Pitt will be returning plenty of talent in 2022 with players such as Jordan Addison, Israel Abanikanda, Rodney Hammond, Jared Wayne, Gavin Bartholomew, Jaylen Barden, Jaden Bradley and others. The offensive weapons will be there to have more success, who will Narduzzi pick to direct this unit?

The obvious person and the name fans are already screaming for is first year wide receiver coach Brennan Marion. He has history of calling plays, is familiar with the personnel, has a modern way of thinking and is a dynamic recruiter. Obviously, he checks off a lot of boxes.

When I was told back on Nov. 30 about this potential move of Whipple resigning, a reason given to me was that with all the current turnover in college coaching staffs, Narduzzi was worried about Marion getting plucked away by another team and realized his value/potential and wanted to be proactive in keeping him around for the long haul.

Does that mean he’s ready and have the trust to turn things over to him? Guess we’ll find out the answer to that in the near future. A possibility could be naming him co-offensive coordinator and also brining in a veteran coach to help assist him until he’s fully ready.

I’d be all for doing that because as I’ve written many times, Marion is a star coach and will likely find himself running his own program one day.

If Narduzzi doesn’t go that route, another name that I’d 100% endorse is attempting to lure Chris Beatty back to Pitt.

Beatty left after last season to become wide receiver coach of the Los Angeles Chargers. Like Marion, Beatty is a tremendous young assistant that is equally or more talented than Marion on the recruiting trail. That part of this job can’t be overlooked. An offensive doesn’t become elite without talent, and Marion and Beatty are ace recruiters that can go and win a recruiting battle against anyone.

Would Beatty leave the NFL to return to college? My guess to that would be Yes. While being in the NFL is nice, I’d imagine Beatty would love the opportunity to be in charge of his own offense and I know he enjoyed the recruiting aspect of college football.

To his credit, Narduzzi has hit home runs with his last few coaching hires with Marion, Beatty, Archie Collins and Cory Sanders.

Will he be able to keep that string going with finding the replacement for Whipple? I’d say he’d have a good chance if he goes in the direction of Marion or Beatty.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
16 Comments
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
16 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Jeff
Jeff
1 month ago

Whipple did well but let’s not forget that Whipple also had a boneheaded side that made you scratch your head at times as well. For example running the wildcat with Vincent Davis against Miami I believe in the red zone and taking a down out of the hands of your Heisman candidate and another instance of having Lucas Krull attempt a pass in the red zone. There were times even Pat Bostick on the radio call commented about not getting the play calling in a particular series now and then. Nobody is perfect but the moral of the story is… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Jeff
Jeff
Jeff
1 month ago
Reply to  Mike Vukovcan

Thank you for the reply, Mike. I had a feeling from your well written article that we felt similarly on the matter. I’m glad to see that feeling confirmed with your reply. 👍

Last edited 1 month ago by Jeff
Jeff
Jeff
1 month ago
Reply to  Mike Vukovcan

I will do that, Mike. Thank you.

richard ellison
richard ellison
1 month ago
Reply to  Jeff

I agree with the anwser that Mike made he was 100% correct.I feel the OC & QB coach should recurit

Adam
Adam
1 month ago
Reply to  Jeff

Man that would be an awesome hire! Recruiting would go to a whole other level in my opinion! Plus they both could have their input in the offense. I’m all for that

Nonya
Nonya
1 month ago
Reply to  Mike Vukovcan

Beatty was not a good receivers coach. They dropped more balls than any acc team when he was there. And if they did catch the ball, they fell to the ground. Marion fixed that this season plus taught them how to block in the run game. He and deserves a shot at OC. Beatty can recruit but so can james franklin 7-5 this season.

Justin Dietrich
Justin Dietrich
1 month ago
Reply to  Nonya

I don’t think that’s a fair assessment at all. Much better weapons and a completely different QB this season.

richard ellison
richard ellison
1 month ago
Reply to  Mike Vukovcan

yes would be a great hire combination an very scary

Nonya
Nonya
1 month ago
Reply to  Jeff

The trick play with nick patti takes the cake of all the bonehead plays whipple called this year. 3rd and short no running back on the field or goes in motion etc im so happy hes leaving! The fact Narduzzi didnt extend an offer speaks volumes so im guessing in retaliation whipple opts out of the bowl game. We need a better run pass ratio next year plus simplify the offense a bit to stem the presnap penalties these kids aren’t ivy league let them think less and execute better. Hire marion and tweak the offense so the kids dont… Read more »

Jeff
Jeff
1 month ago
Reply to  Nonya

Can’t argue with that. I very much like your take on the situation here and agree. 👍

TMG
TMG
1 month ago
Reply to  Jeff

And he helped Pitt WIN The ACC Championship. Farewell and following seas, Thank you Mark.

Mark Recker
Mark Recker
1 month ago

FYI – Pickett never played in Matt Canada’s system. He played for 2 OC’s, Watson & Whipple.

Katura Cassells
Katura Cassells
1 month ago

Coach Marion and Davis Beville have high ceilings. The sky is not falling. We have depth at most positions and the recruiting class will improve drastically when the higher ranked players makes their decisions.

Duquesne WBB

Get PSN in your inbox!

Enter your email and get all of our posts delivered straight to your inbox.

 
Like Pittsburgh Sports Now on Facebook!
Send this to a friend