Boston College football offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Frank Cignetti Jr. will be taking over as the offensive coordinator at Pittsburgh, as reported by ESPN’s Pete Thamel on Thursday.
In Cignetti’s two-year tenure on the Heights, BC’s quarterback efficiency drastically improved, and his departure marks the first major personnel change from Jeff Hafley’s staff since he was hired at BC in December 2019.
After working with quarterback Phil Jurkovec in the Notre Dame transfer’s first two years at BC, Cignetti will play a familiar role in undertaking a first-year starter at Pitt, with Southern California transfer Kedon Slovis. Slovis fills the gap left behind by Heisman Trophy finalist Kenny Pickett, who spent five years at Pitt before declaring for the 2022 NFL Draft in December.
With Jurkovec under his wing, Cignetti implemented a pro-style passing offense that resembled schemes BC once utilized under its top quarterbacks such as Doug Flutie, Glenn Foley, Matt Hasselbeck, and Matt Ryan.
Cignetti’s pro-style offense created almost instantaneous improvement. After ranking in the 100s nationally for the majority of the last 10 years, ESPN ranked BC 25th nationally in passing offense in 2020, averaging 284.2 passing yards per game.
Under Cignetti, Jurkovec was the first player to total four 300-yard passing games in his first five career starts at BC, and his 2,558 yards over his first 10 starts were the most by any BC quarterback in school history. Jurkovec was the first BC quarterback with four or more 300-yard passing games in a season since Ryan.
After Jurkovec suffered a wrist injury and missed six games in 2021, the offensive efficiency came up short of its 2020 mark. ESPN ranked BC 107th in the nation in passing offense, averaging 184.8 yards per game. The Eagles ranked 93rd nationally in scoring offense during the 2021 season at 24.7 points per game, and with Jurkovec’s replacements Dennis Grosel and Emmett Morehead as its signal callers, BC lost its rhythm.
In each of Cignetti’s two years as the Eagles’ offensive coordinator, six of BC’s offensive players received All-ACC honors, including first-team selections Alec Lindstrom and Zay Flowers in 2020, and Lindstrom and Zion Johnson in 2021.
After growing up in Pittsburgh, the move is a homecoming for Cignetti, who served as a graduate assistant for the Panthers in 1989 and then returned to Pitt as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach during the 2009–10 season. He has also worked in the NFL with a number of teams, most recently including the St. Louis Rams, New York Giants, and Green Bay Packers.
Featured Image by Ikram Ali / Heights Senior Staff