Mark Whipple is directing one of the most prolific offenses in all of college football. Pitt leads the nation in scoring, averaging 45 points per game. The Panthers rank third in total offense, averaging a robust 541.1 yards. Beyond mere statistics, Whipple embodies the finest qualities of the Broyles Award. Pitt’s offensive success this season reflects a four-decade coaching career that has always prioritized teaching, mentoring and the power of relationships.
Whipple owns more than 40 years of coaching experience and championship rings at both the NFL and collegiate levels. The winningest head coach at Massachusetts, he directed the Minutemen to the greatest season in school history, their 1998 national championship campaign, and was honored as the AFCA Division I-AA Coach of the Year. As quarterback coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers under Bill Cowher, he mentored in 2004 rookieBen Roethlisberger–who broke Dan Marino’s NFL rookie quarterback records for completion percentage (66.4) and passer rating (98.1)–and was named the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year. In 2005, Roethlisberger became the youngest starting quarterback in NFL history to win a Super Bowl when the Steelers defeated Seattle, 21-10.
Pitt is currently 7-2 overall and atop the Coastal Division with a 4-1 ACC mark. The Panthers are ranked in both major Top 25 polls this week, placing No. 22 in the USA Today Coaches Poll and No. 25 in the Associated Press Poll. When updated on Nov. 9, Pitt will be listed in the College Football Playoff rankings for the second consecutive week.
Pitt leads the nation in scoring, averaging 45 points per game. Whipple’s offense additionally ranks first nationally in total first downs (254), third in total offense (541.1 yards per game) and fourth in passing yards (376.1 yards per game). Pitt has four 50-point games this year, its most since the 1905 season.The transformation he has orchestrated for Pitt’s offense is nothing short of remarkable. (Note that last year, Pitt averaged 29 points and 379.6 yards per contest.)
Under Whipple’s guidance, Pitt’s Kenny Pickett is the most impactful quarterback in the nation this season. Through nine games he has completed 69% of his passes (235 of 342) for 3,171 yards with 29 touchdowns and only three interceptions. With four rushing scores, he has 33 total TDs this year. Pickett is highly distinguished among FBS quarterbacks with top-10 national rankings in no fewer than eight NCAA statistical categories: passing touchdowns (third, 29), total offense (third, 379.2 yards/game), total passing yards (fifth, 3,171), passing yards per game (fifth, 352.3 avg.), total points responsible for (fifth, 198), points responsible for per game (fifth, 22.0 avg.), completions per game (sixth, 26.11 avg.) and passing efficiency (seventh, 172.8 rating). He is a semifinalist for the Davey O’Brien Award and Maxwell Award. He is a finalist for the Senior CLASS Award and a “top 10 candidate” for the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award.