Gorman: Whipple hopes to make ripple at PSU
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Bill O'Brien was searching prep schools for quarterbacks for spring drills when the Penn State coach recognized one.
“When he saw my name,” Austin Whipple said, “he put two and two together.”
O'Brien was inside linebackers coach on Mark Whipple's staff in his first season as head coach at Brown University in 1994, so they have a long history.
A 2012 Pine-Richland graduate who spent a post-graduate season at Salisbury School in Connecticut, Austin Whipple didn't hesitate to accept when O'Brien offered a chance to join Penn State as a preferred walk-on.
With freshman Steven Bench the only returning quarterback on the roster, finding arms for spring drills was a priority for O'Brien.
The Nittany Lions have also added a junior-college transfer, Tyler Ferguson of the College of Sequoias, and D.J. Crook of Worcester (Mass.) Academy.
Whipple knows he will have an opportunity to get invaluable practice repetitions and learn Penn State's pass-oriented offense.
“That's the goal right now, to try to earn a scholarship,” Austin said. “Preferred walk-on, scholarship or not, Penn State and the coaches and players are awesome. It's not good to not be able to play in a bowl, but they've got great things going on. I'm definitely excited.”
For advice, Whipple can look to his father, the former Steelers quarterbacks coach now in the same capacity with the Cleveland Browns. His older brother, Spencer, walked-on at Pitt, transferred to Massachusetts and then to Miami (Fla.) when their father was the Hurricanes' offensive coordinator.
Spencer Whipple got a scholarship to Miami after quarterbacks Robert Marve (Purdue), Cannon Smith (Memphis) and Taylor Cook (Rice) all transferred.
“Being a walk-on at certain places, a lot of times guys will separate themselves, scholarship from walk-ons,” said Spencer, now a graduate assistant at Pitt. “I think Penn State is a place where there is no separation, no real difference. Penn State has been known for having a strong group of walk-ons who make a difference.”
Matt McGloin is proof that going from walk-on to starting quarterback is possible at Penn State.
Whipple wants to prove that playing the position is not only in his bloodlines but that O'Brien isn't the only one who can do basic math.
The opportunity to play at Penn State as a preferred-walk-on?
It all adds up.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Burnett pitches well in farewell, but Pirates lose to Reds
- More employers adopt generous leave policies
- Steelers cut Scobee, sign free agent kicker Boswell
- Pa. spends millions on death penalty cases that rarely end in execution
- Pirates fans on edge as season again coming down to wild card
- Starting 9: How can the Pirates catch the Cardinals in the future?
- Are Pirates better positioned to win it all this postseason?
- Steelers notebook: Safety Mitchell shrugs off Ravens WR’s comments
- New book credits Nunn for Steelers’ 1970s success
- Pitt holds off Virginia Tech in ACC opener
- Steelers film study: Team finds success blitzing members of secondary