Monday, December 18, 2006

Mark Whipple Going to B.C.? Nope!

Update: December 18, 2006, 9:00PM (PST)
Despite initial reports that Steelers quarterback coach Mark Whipple was under serious consideration for the head football coach job at Boston College, ESPN is reporting that Jeff Jagodzinski has been hired for the position.

Mr. Jagodzinski is in his first season as offensive coordinator in Green Bay after having most recently served as the tight end coach in Atlanta (2004-2005) and in Green Bay (1999-2003). Prior to that he served as the offensive coordinator and offensive line coach at Boston College (1997-1998).

Update: December 10, 2006, 3:30PM
In a very brief item on its website the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette is reporting that the Steelers have given Boston College officials permission to interview Mark Whipple for their vacant head football coach position. According to the report the interview was to take place December 10, 2006.

Update: December 9, 2006, 11:03PM
The FOX affiliate in Boston is reporting that Mark Whipple is close to reaching a contract agreement to assume the duties as head coach of the Boston College Eagles:

"Sources close to the negotiations have told FOX25 that Boston College is close to hiring Pittsburgh Steelers Quarterback’s coach Mark Whipple.

Whipple spent six season as head coach at UMass, winning the 1-AA National title back in 1998. Before that he coached at his alma mater Brown.

He’s spent the last three seasons with the Steelers, winning a Superbowl with Pittsburgh last season.

Boston College Athletic Director Gene DiFillipo would not confirm that he is close to hiring Whipple, but did say that he will be moving quickly to fill the Eagles head coaching vacancy
."

Original Posting
My friends at ProFootballTalk.com are reporting that Steelers' quarterback coach Mark Whipple is on tap to be the next head coach at Boston College, replacing Tom O'Brien who is leaving to become the head coach at North Carolina State University.

No confirmation on this from the Steelers (what a shock), but in a Saturday afternoon report, the Associated Press speculated that Boston College Athletic Director Gene DeFilippo might be targeting Mr. Whipple: "If DeFilippo seeks a coach with New England connections, he could interview Pittsburgh Steelers quarterbacks coach Mark Whipple, the former head coach at Massachusetts and Brown, or Connecticut head coach Randy Edsall, an assistant at BC from 1991 to 1993."

Mr. Whipple joined the Steelers in his current capacity in January 2004.

An email to Steelers' Communication Coordinator seeking comment on this was not immediately answered.

In the report on ProFootballTalk.com an unnamed source described the potential departure of Mr. Whipple as a "big loss for the Steelers." Perhaps, but a looking at the statistical evidence may indicate something else entirely. In Ben Roethlisberger's first season with the Steelers -- also Mr. Whipple's first regular season as quaterback coach for the Steelers -- he completed 196 of 295 passes (66.4%), with 17 touchdowns and 11 interceptions (one interception for every 26.82 pass attemtps). In season two Mr. Roethlisberger completed 168 of 268 pass attempts (62.7%), with 17 touchdowns, and 9 interceptions (one interception for every 29.78 passing attempts). This year, as all Steelers fans know, has been disasterous: 236/393 (60.1%), 15 touchdowns, 20 interceptions (1:19.65).

The steady decline of Ben Roethlisberger as an NFL quarterback certainly cannot all be blamed on Mr. Whipple, but let us not overstate how much his possible departure will mean.

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