Scouting Miami: A look into Mark Whipple- UM's new Offensive Coordinator

Miami Offensive Coordinator Mark Whipple.

I was going to wait and run this later, but I can't wait.  There are only 10 days until Miami.  Many Hurricane fans are excited about their new offensive coordinator, Mark Whipple.  Many FSU fans are worried because they don't know what he will run at Miami.  But Florida State's coaches know, and we have a pretty good idea as well.  How?   By looking at Miami's available personnel and Whipple's past work.  

Here's Whipple's Bio from Wikipedia:

Mark Whipple is the offensive coordinator for the University of Miami Hurricanes football team. Previously, he worked as a quarterback coach with the Pittsburgh Steelers and as an offensive assistant coach with the Philadelphia Eagles.  Whipple had been an assistant coach in the NFL since 2004. Prior to joining the NFL he spent 16 years as a coach in Division I-AA football. The highlight of his college career was coaching Division I-AA University of Massachusetts, where he posted a record of 49-25 with two conference championships. He was coach of UMass from 1998-2003[1]. He won the NCAA Division I-AA national title in 1998.  On January 25, 2007, he was let go by new Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin, and replaced with Ken Anderson. The next day, Whipple was hired by the Eagles.

Whipple is distinctly pro-style.  He speaks often of his huge playbook and his experience in the pro ranks.  He's had his players watch film of the Steelers and Eagles.  I don't particularly think a huge playbook is important or even good, particularly at the college level where coaches have limited practice time and the players are transitioning from high-school.  Whipple definitely won't have most of his offense installed by the time the Canes roll into Tallahassee, but it's a good bet they will have enough.  Ultimately, that is Whipple's call.  We decided to break down some old game film from his days at U-Mass, with the help of State Champion Offensive Coordinator and frequent Tomahawk Nation commentator, Oline01075.  Here's what he had to say...

  • They operate out of the Pro I, slot I, double tight I, twins offset I strong, flexed I (TE split), trips, wide bunch.  These are not earth shattering sets.
  • They don't use a lot of motion
  • Unbalanced formations, offsets FB, split backs.  
  • Run plays: Toss (just like UGA, was go to play early in this game), (Iso), inside zone, counter trey, draw, shitty reverse
  • Will run a play back to back if it's working
  • Will feed the RB, likes physical style running game  [Editor's Note:  he had Marcel Shipp as his RB on this team.  Shipp went on to play in the NFL.  When you have an NFL player at the I-AA level, it's a huge advantage, much bigger than having one at the DI level.  Take this with a grain of salt.]
  • Gets the backfield players involved in routes, looks to create space and get the backfield players replacing linebackers.  People I've asked says he loves to throw to the backs.
  • FB carried the ball 37 times in 1998, was third leading receiver on the team that year with 38 catches. 
  • Gets as many into pass routes as possible, consistently going quick 5 step drop and releasing 5 receivers, a lot of pressure on the OL.  This is known as a 5-man protection.
  • QB threw for 3,000 yards on 228-399, 28 TD's, 15 INT's
  • Loves to throw the ball in the redzone.  This is great for us because it's generally a dumb strategy.  
  • Throws 9 yard comeback\out, seems to like routes working towards the sideline.  There are opportunities for pick-6's here if the QB throws a lazy ball.
  • Worked a FB screen on 2nd and medium, doesn't seem overly aggressive but is very consistent in his approach.
  • Likes to clear out underneath zones by running guys through them and then get the ball to crossers.  
  • Attacks vertical off the playaction passing game.  Very NFL-Style.
  • Showed the bubble but threw backside.  
  • Incorporates the TE in the passing game, will attack the flats if coverage is off.  Whipple is obsessed with forcing the defense to stop the easy stuff.  He will continually hit the TE and the RB's in the flats.
  • Consistently runs the ball on third and 2 and less, which is odd given his redzone passing persuasion.
  • Motioned to empty backfield (quads) and threw bubble type play.  Good opportunity to run some sort of fake bubble-n-go off ot this.
  • He is going to get the ball to his backfield players as often as possible, finds a lot of different ways to get them the ball.  
  • Went for it deep in his own end.  Whipple is very smart and understands 4th down math, much like Belichek, Meyer, Parcells, and other great coaches.  Hopefully for the 'Noles, Randy Shannon will probably make him punt, but it absolutely, overwhelmingly is the right call to go for it most of the time.
  • Creates great spacing in the passing game and works triangle reads, three guys in different spots
  • Went shotgun with about 1 minute left in half, poor clock management, though that could be on the QB and not the coach.

More on this later, but we didn't see him running his QB, any option elements, etc.  Can he do that with Miami this year?  Sure, but he hasn't really shown that persuasion.

Also, Miami didn't need to fire their offensive coordinator.  They probably needed a new defensive coordinator.  Look at how their offense did in conference...


And how their defense did:


Hmm, so Miami had arguably the worst defense in the conference, and they blame their offensive coordinator?  Why could that be?  Could it be because they can't afford to fire their head coach Randy Shannon, who was basically their defensive coordinator?  Maybe because Miami's program is crumbling due to a dangerously low lack of support?

Log In Sign Up

Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Tomahawk Nation

You must be a member of Tomahawk Nation to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Tomahawk Nation. You should read them.

Join Tomahawk Nation

You must be a member of Tomahawk Nation to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Tomahawk Nation. You should read them.




Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.