It’s not a 100% done deal as I write this - the hiring of Mark Whipple as offensive coordinator and Donovan Raiola as offensive line coach, but I will spend Wednesday flying, so I am doing a proactive reaction to these guys being hired.
Mark Whipple is 64 years old and has a ton of experience in coaching football at all levels of the game.
During his three seasons at Pitt, Whipple took a weak, run-heavy offense inherited from Shawn Watson and molded it into a juggernaut. As a result, Pitt climbed from No. 94 in the nation in scoring offense under Watson in 2018, with 25.6 points per game, to No. 3 under Whipple in 2021, with 43.0.
The concern with Whipple is he isn’t a good recruiter. Does it matter, given today’s transfer portal? It’s a good debate.
Donovan Raiola is currently the assistant offensive line coach of the Chicago Bears. If you’re a Bears fan, you’re probably fine since he’s leaving. If you’re a Nebraska fan, you’re probably glad he’s coming, largely because of the Raiola name.
Can he coach?
I certainly hope so. Nebraska’s pass protection was abysmal (being kind) in 2021 and Mr. Whipple favors the pass.
Bottom line on these hires?
They change nothing in terms of what you think of Scott Frost’s potential for success.
If you’re a person who thinks Frost is a failure and hiring new coaches is just a band-aid, these coaches will not convince you otherwise.
If you’re a person who thinks Frost is very close and will be successful if some pieces come together, you’ll find your proof examining the experience and record of the incoming coaches.