From The Coordinator: It's Back To Basics

You have to understand that offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich has to consider his beliefs, his pride, the offense he works with and the players he coaches every day under siege. Yurcich has been attacked on the radio by media and fans alike. He's been cussed and discussed at the coffee shop around Stillwater, and he has been written up in disgust on the electronic pages of websites.

I can perfectly understand why he would get very conservative and be short with his answers to the media questions he gets every Monday. I don't blame him one bit. It's that old law enforcement line that anything you say can and will be used against you. Say less and give the critics less ammo.

I've often thought about passing on talking with Yurcich and simply wait until our meeting on Thursday. Oh, wait a second, those meetings have been shortened severely or not held the last three weeks for extra time in the offensive meeting room. Can't complain about that.

I was extra pleased Monday about my time spent with the Cowboys offensive coordinator as he opened up just a little and explained in more detail what his emphasis was in working with the offense in the open week.

"Working on the basics," Yurcich started. "We worked on polishing up our pass protections and getting the quarterback to throw the ball quicker and get it out of his hand. If the first read's not there, if the second read's not there, throw it away. All of those things combined.

"(We worked on) our basic run-blocking schemes, our route-running versus man, recognizing coverage versus certain types of zones, picking up their most typical blitzes. Trying to really rep those looks to a small amount of plays offensively is what we're trying to do so that we give ourselves the best chance of success come Saturday."

The key lines for me were the work with the quarterback on reads and getting the ball out of his hands and throwing it away. All lessons that will greatly benefit Daxx Garman and the extra work a bye week affords on that can make a difference.

Then there is the sentence on reps against the Texas scheme and typical blitzes with a small amount of plays. When the ship is struggling to stay afloat then throw stuff overboard and lighten the load. Same philosophy here, skinny up the offense and get better, dare say get good at running part of it and then go with it. Let's just keep Texas guessing on what those plays are.

The Cowboys practiced on Wednesday and Thursday after giving the players Monday and Tuesday off last week. There were players that really needed it. Then before letting them have a mini-weekend before gathering back for a Sunday practice the team had a 6:40 a.m. walk through on Friday.

"I'm sure there was both mental and physical (fatigue)," Yurcich said of the bye week rest. "It's good to have a week off. It was a good week for it. I think our guys took some time off, but at the same time, they worked hard in the weight room and had some quality practices last week.

"I think we'll be focused from a mental standpoint. They were able to relax a little bit on the weekend and get their mind off things for just a minute before getting focused on the task at hand and being refreshed for a week of preparation heading into the Texas game."

A fresh team that physically has had a chance to heal up some, and an offense that has zeroed in on a little smaller slice of playbook to chew on.


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