New offensive coordinator Mark Whipple just finished his half hour press conference introducing himself to the media Tuesday afternoon. I have a few quick notes I wanted to share relating to what he talked about. For those of you who would like to listen to the entire press conference, just click on the link.
> For starters, credit the hire of Whipple to coach Randy Shannon (who much like in what he does with recruits) had a great one-on-one session with Whipple and helped convince him he really was ready to come back and be a playcaller on the college level. Eagles coach Andy Reid obviously talked to Whipple about becoming the team's quarterbacks coach. But even Reid realized Whipple was ready to come back to college and call plays. It seemed the two knew Miami was where Whipple needed to be. Whipple said he first started receiving inquires in his interest at UM about three weeks ago from others close to the program down here.
"The thing I missed a little bit in the NFL was teaching and seeing people get better," Whipple said. "I think I have a lot to give this place and kids in general."
> Whipple will be more than just the offensive coordinator. He was hired and given the title of assistant head coach. That could very well mean Shannon has decided to take on the role of defensive coordinator.Nothing official, however, regarding Shannon's move to defensive coordinator was told to us by Whipple or any other sports information staff members.
> Whipple played his high school ball in Arizona and has spent most of his life in the northeast, but that doesn't mean he's not familiar with South Florida or the Canes. As a recruiter he said he spent a lot of time in Miami and Broward. He said the tradition of the Hurricanes has always intrigued him. He was actually at the Fiesta Bowl for UM's two national championship losses to Penn State (1986) and Ohio State (2002). He shared a story about how he spoke with Tom Brady at the Pro Bowl about the talented players coming out of UM -- including receiver Andre Johnson.
> How long Whipple sticks around UM remains to be seen. But there is no question he has aspirations of being an NFL head coach one day. He didn't tell reporters how much money he's being paid or how long his contract is for. But he talked plenty about winning championships. Whipple has obviously done a lot of it in his career with a I-AA title at UMass in 1998 and a Super Bowl title with the Steelers.
"To me it's about being the best," Whipple said. "I believe in saying, no one rises to low expectations. If you are playing for runner-up, you'll probably finish third. If you play for No. 1, it's probably the only way you'll be No. 1. You walk into Pittsburgh, you see the four Lombardi trophies you know what it's about. You walk into UM, you see the five national titles. You know what it's about. This is what I'm about."
> As for the type of offense he would like to run, Whipple said it will all depend on personnel. He said he watched tape of three UM games: FSU, Virginia and Cal and has some early impressions. He also got to know players a little during a team workout. But he's got to see what they can do on the field before deciding how he's going to run his offense: "Brian Westbrook is different than Jerome Bettis. Hines Ward is not the same as Desean Jackson," Whipple said. "It's a little bit of a mix and match. I got to see what our players are like. Do we have guys that can pull [block]? What are our quarterbacks like? What is Jacory comfortable with? To me, it's not what I like. I have an arsenal of plays. To me it's what you put up on the board. I've always had a good relationship with the players. I want to put guys in the best positions they can be in. I think its going to be a little bit of what Pittsburgh does with Hines Ward. It's going to be a little bit of what Arizona does with what I did with Whisenhunt. It's not how much I know, it's what our guys know. I learned you can always challenge guys more. I'm trying to make this place the best classroom they have. I want to make their football class the greatest classroom they have."
> UM released a few other quotes from folks in the NFL talking about Whipple. Here they are.
Philadelphia Eagles coach Andy Reid: “On behalf of the Philadelphia Eagles, I wish Mark and his family all the best in Miami and thank him for all of his contributions to the Eagles during this past year. He is an excellent football coach and has proven that on both the college and pro levels. He has a great opportunity in Miami and I’m sure he’ll be very successful with that program. He is a great addition to the University of Miami and will help them continue their high standard of football and academics.”
Pittsburgh Steelers Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger: "Whip is a great coach and is the perfect fit for any coaching position at any school or team. I know he will do great things at Miami and help that program tremendously. He will help the players not just as a coach, but as a leader and a mentor to them. I have nothing but the upmost respect for Whip and what he stands for."
Former Pittsburgh Steelers Head Coach Bill Cowher: “Mark Whipple was without a doubt instrumental in the development of Ben Roethlisberger. He has a wealth of experience on the offensive side and is a great teacher and leader of young men.”