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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Miami looks to hire Mark Whipple as Offensive Coordinator

Mark Whipple is likely the new offensive coordinator for the University of Miami. That name is a blast from the past. Back in 1998 I heard of Whipple when he took UMass to a 1-AA National Title. Back then, he was a bit of a darling in football circles. He was throwing the ball around forty-times a game, and his teams were pretty wide open. So, a spread guy, you say? Not necessarily: keep in mind too that was 1998; the spread had not yet permeated all levels of college football. Although wide-open and experimental, Whipple's offense was kind of a West Coast/One-back hybrid.

Eventually, however, his success at UMass waned, and he was picked up by the Steelers to be their quarterbacks coach. And from there, Whipple's career arc has been rather perplexing: He was quarterbacks coach with the Steelers, where apparently Bill Cowher "loved" him. But Mike Tomlin was not so impressed, as he fired Whipple shortly after he arrived, citing Ben Roethlisberger's "regression."

Then he was picked up by the Philadelphia Eagles, where he coached this past season, under the vague and quite posssibly meaningless title, "offensive assistant coach." The word was that Andy Reid hired Whipple as insurance if his offensive coordinator left before this past season, but when that didn't happen, Reid kept him around anyway. Doing what though, I'm not sure. (Keep in mind that Reid is actively involved in the offense, not to mention the other assistants.) So likely Whipple was restless, and was looking for this change.

And it might be a great one for both Miami and Whipple. But the burning question for Miami fans is not whether Whipple has credentials, or whether he's a bright offensive mind. It's why has he essentially languished for several years? Is there some character or coaching issue that lurks below the surface? Who knows. In any event, on its face, the hire appears to be a good one for Shannon and the U. Notwithstanding Patrick Nix's warnings that Shannon won't allow offensive innovation, Whipple should bring a sophisticated, pro-style, wide-open but open-minded approach (and those things don't always go together, so that's a good thing). But like all else, time will tell.


Anonymous said...

Marcel Shipp was the running back at UMass while Whipple was HFC. He could make anyone look good

Anonymous said...

Whipple also achieved a degree of success at Brown, before he moved on to UMass. I'm no Canes fan, but I think that Miami has the right personnel - particularly Jacory Harris - to really compliment Whipple's coaching philosophy - assuming of course Nix is wrong about Shannon holding the offense back.