What Can OSU Expect From Mike Yurcich?

Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy had no previous connection to new Cowboys offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich. Whether on the road or back home in Stillwater, Gundy was researching offensive coordinators and quarterback coaches during the course of the last month. The search was to find an accomplished coordinator that also had a lot of experience working with quarterbacks.

I admit that while doing the same thing I limited my research to NFL and Division I coaches. Gundy knew he needed a coach that would check his ego at the door of the West End Zone and be willing to coach the current base OSU offense and not his own playbook, and he looked further.

The new offensive coordinator also needed to be a good fit and able to work with established offensive staffers Joe Wickline, Kasey Dunn and Jemal Singleton.

Many NFL and Division I offensive coordinators and quarterback coaches want to coach their offense and aren't interested in adapting to what is currently in place.

What Gundy found in Yurcich and what he continued to hear when he made calls about the guy was that he was a very smart coach, a hardworking kind of gym rat of a coach that was known for putting in the hours.

He played quarterback and has always coached quarterbacks, including recent Harlon Hill Trophy winner Zach Zulli at Shippensburg. Yurcich's brother played quarterback and there are other members in his family that are coaches. He married a college athlete, so athletics is very important to the family.

Gundy met Yurcich in person last week when he stopped in Maryland between home visits in Atlanta (Darius Curry and family) and Salt Lake City (Ofa Hautau and family). They spent more than four hours together, and obviously Gundy liked what he saw and heard in Yurcich. The coaches in that region rave about Yurcich.

Watching a couple of Shippensburg's games from last season and consulting an offensive coach from a strong program that has also seen tape of Shippensburg, the offense is very successful. Their punter didn't earn his scholarship because he was rarely used.

The passing game reminds me of Neil Brown's offense at Texas Tech. The passing is from sideline to sideline with route concepts such star, scissors, sticks, exchange, and verts. They ran four verts but the ball was released shortly after the receivers were 10 yards into the routes.

The formations were gun, pistol with multiple 3, 4, and 5 receivers. The few times they do go long it is with situations where a receiver is reasonably expected to be running free. They would go 4x1 and on the single side the receiver would do a double move. They might use multiple play action and eye candy in the backfield and run a back on a wheel route or an inside receiver on a seam where they tried to get lost in the front seven before a breakout. All good concepts.

The run game material in Yurcich's offense at Shippensburg was really fun with multiple sets and a really nice counter read included that was incorporated in combination with a number of other runs (fakes) that kept the defensive front seven guessing.

The biggest adjustments for Yurcich will be working with the caliber of speed and athletic players at OSU. This includes quarterbacks, backs, and receivers. The athleticism will be a huge jump up from the PSAC to what's available at OSU and what he will have to attack in the Big 12.

Second, Yurcich, like Monken previously, will have to learn the Mumme/Leach/Holgorsen option passing offense. It is an offense that takes some time to learn, to learn how to install, teach, maintain, and call. Based on all I saw, that won't be a real problem for Yurcich.

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