Since Mark Whipple left for Nebraska earlier this month, his potential replacement as Pitt’s offensive coordinator — in both the Peach Bowl and beyond — has been a hot topic among many in Panther Nation.
With head coach Pat Narduzzi promising to name the interim offensive coordinator once Pitt reached Atlanta for the Peach Bowl, he named tight ends coach Tim Salem as the interim OC for the game Sunday afternoon during Pitt’s Peach Bowl Zoom press conference.
“Tim Salem is gonna run our offense,” Narduzzi said. “Anybody on our offense could do it, and our kids could tell you … It’s been as smooth a transition as you can imagine. We’ve got a bunch of coordinators on our staff, so I trust everybody. But Tim Salem’s been with me for seven years. Our players have a lot of trust in him, it left right where it took off. We’re going to do what we do offensively, and guys have a lot of faith.”
While many clamored for wide receivers coach Brennan Marion to take over play-calling for the Peach, Narduzzi decided that Salem — the other offensive assistant with offensive coordinator experience — would be the play-caller.
Salem served as the offensive coordinator at UCF from 2004-08, the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Eastern Michigan in 2003, the offensive coordinator at Purdue from 1993-96 and the offensive coordinator at Phoenix College in 1987-88.
Salem has served as the tight ends coach at Pitt since 2015, and he’s helped Pitt tight ends to All-ACC honors and program positional records. He’s also served as a key recruiter for Pitt during his time in Pittsburgh.
With Nick Patti making his first start of the 2021 season, leading a talented cast of skill players and a full offensive line, Salem will try to guide Pitt’s offense to another big performance and a program-tying-record 12th win.