Mike Yurcich: A Football Junkie

A football junkie? That might be an appropriate description for Oklahoma State's new offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich, who I've had the opportunity to talk a little football with a few times. It's easy to get a feel for the sharp football mind that over the past seven seasons as an offensive coordinator has been lighting up NCAA Division II defenses in Pennsylvania.

Thursday, just four days before the start of Oklahoma State's spring football on Monday, Yurcich met with the media via a teleconference.

In a process that likely won't get quite as much publicity as the tutoring that took place when Todd Monken took the job following Dana Holgorsen and was versed in part in the offense by then quarterback Brandon Weeden, Yurcich said he has been gulping down all he can regarding the Cowboys offensive system. We understand that before his family moved to Stillwater he fell asleep in the office a few nights watching video.

"Getting the family moved was a priority," explained Yurcich, who is married to the former Julie Nemergut and together they have two sons (Jack and Clay) that aren't yet school age. "They're here in Stillwater now, so that's a good thing. They're all settled in.

"That was a big deal, and just trying to get familiar with the offense. I've tried to watch as much film as possible, going back (to) last year, 2011 and 2010. (I'm) just getting my hands on as much film as possible and just trying to get with the staff. It seems like there's a lot to do. And recruiting, as well.

"It's all been kind of a whirlwind, but (I'm) just trying to take one thing at a time and trying to juggle a couple things as well. All those things have been in the focus -- trying to learn the offense, trying to get more familiar with the people here on campus and recruiting as well, along with the family," Yurcich continued.

"I want to get involved and learn what these players know and what they've been good at," added Yurcich, who said he would worry about adding any of his own material to the offense after he was confident he had the existing system nailed down.

"I'll be honest with you. I don't know where the tweaks will come, and when they will come, (or) if they will come. The offense is going to be designed around these players and what they can do, but also what we've done in the past. This system will stay intact and it's my duty right now to learn that. That's really been my focus."

Yurcich was careful with his answers in the teleconference that only featured questions from Gina Mizell of The Oklahoman and Jimmie Tramel from The Tulsa World. >He would not comment on the quarterbacks or the process of coming up with a starter out of the three candidates that all guided Oklahoma State to conference wins last season. Each of the three threw for at least four touchdowns in a game once, and all threw for 330 yards in a game. Wes Lunt and J.W. Walsh each topped 400 yards in a game.

"I'm not going to make any predeterminations and that sort of thing," Yurcich said. "We are going to let it all play out and see where we are at that point."

The most interesting material was the discussion on why the former standout small college quarterback decided to get into coaching. Having a son that went that direction, I find it interesting why men make that decision. It is obvious from his answers that Yurcich did not get into the business to get rich.

He was very happy coaching at the Division II level and sounds like he has enjoyed each and every stop. He also made it clear that Mike Gundy found him.

"I wouldn't say I put too much stock in saying my goal was this or my goal was that. My goal always has been as a coach to win and to challenge myself and to put myself in positions to succeed and that has really been my goal as a coach and not saying and trying to (be pigeonholed at) this level or that level and that sort of thing," Yurcich explained after saying that it was Gundy that called him and after several phone conversations and a meeting in person in Maryland he was hired.

"It's always been just trying to do the best job you can where you are at and go from there."

As for when Yurcich decided he was going to be a coach? "I think it started in my undergraduate work. Throughout the day, I would find myself in the library between classes and my mind drifting toward football. (I was) always drawing up plays as a player and even in the offseason (was) wanting to watch the film," Yurcich said.

"Throughout my undergraduate time, I really developed a passion for the game, and coaching really intrigued me at that time. I think what you do is you get perspective on things. It helps you appreciate all the great things we have here at Oklahoma State, but at the same time, those experiences with those people at Shippensburg and Edinboro and at the University of St. Francis, they were all great and they were great because of the people that we were surrounded with (like) the coaches and the players and the families and the communities.

"A lot of that is the same. People don't really change. Good people are good people and it's fun to be around them. It's fun to see a young man grow from Point A to Point B and know that you had a little bit to do with that. That's really what it's all about at the end of the day. I don't care where you are at. That's kind of my coaching philosophy."

A philosophy he is already putting to work at Oklahoma State.


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