Well here we are, twenty-one games into the Whipple regime, and sure enough fans are calling for his head. It’s not unwarranted. In Whipple’s first full season as offensive coordinator Pitt ranked 87th in total offense and 114th in scoring offense, averaging just 21.2 points per game. (That’s 114th out of 130 teams folks). Considering that the object of a football game is to score more points than your opponent, well, 114th is not so good. On the flip side, it’s not like Whip had a lot to work with. The running back room was a disaster. The offensive line depth was paper thin, and the wide receivers were a ragtag collection of injury-prone transfers, unproven players and a guy named Maurice Ffrench (who actually turned out to be pretty good). Pitt also didn’t have a Tight End who could consistently hang onto a pass. Fortunately the quarterback (our boy Kenny Pickett) was serviceable , and it was on him that Narduzzi pinned his hopes. I’d venture to say that based on the supporting cast, Pitt would have finished a lot lower than 114th in scoring without Kenny, and his grit and late game poise willed Pitt to an eight win season.
Okay so year two…The offensive line returned a bunch of starters (albeit bad ones, save the Center) and Pickett returned. The running backs (again, not exactly world beaters) came back and we got a talent upgrade at WR with Addison and Turner. Tight ends continued to be a liability, but damn if we weren’t sold on continuity in the offseason! Well despite the Tight End position being a disaster as predicted, all of it has added up to improvement. A touchdown’s worth of improvement to be precise. Pitt is averaging 28.5 points per game, up from 21.2 just one year ago. And our scoring rank improved from 114th to 69th (out of 127 instead of 130 but still an improvement). I think I said in an earlier article that Kenny Pickett makes Pitt’s offense something close to average, and well there you go.