Yurcich Talks About Rudolph's Development

The Oklahoma State Cowboys were back on the practice field Saturday for the first time since the win over Oklahoma in Bedlam. Even with the events of Thursday night and Friday that saw Tyreek Hill dismissed from the team following his arrest on a charge of domestic assault by strangulation, there were still smiles on the faces of the Cowboys as they started work on Cactus Bowl opponent Washington.

The OSU coaches have been on the road recruiting and getting back to start some early game planning and practice planning for the week ahead. However, after a tough season that saw plenty of highs and lows, the high of winning Bedlam is a powerful boost for the postseason and the recruiting season.

"Coach (Glenn) Spencer, he got us all together in our group as we do the night before a ball game, and sometimes it's Saturday morning depending on when the game is and everything," offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich explained in talking about the value of Bedlam. "Coach Spencer was talking about the opportunity for a lifetime memory and it kind of sunk in at that point.

"This ball game will always present the opportunity for you to have a lifetime memory. It's one of those things that you can't wait to do it again next year. Our guys played well and I'm just really happy for our players because you talk about effort and buying into playing together and that is what it takes to beat a good team."

Spencer may have done a good job setting it up in the minds of the coaching staff, and he did a good job preparing his defense. But Yurcich had a major role in breaking in a true freshman quarterback in the 11th game of the season and then following that up with a game plan that would continue to evoke confidence and production with Mason Rudolph.

"It's hard for me to sit here and break my arm patting myself on the back, really," started Yurcich. "The kid was coached very well in high school (by Kyle Richardson) and that factored in.

"Our staff has a lot of input on our game planning and we had a bye week where we could really discuss some issues, and we came up with a game plan we felt was best for our offensive unit. Mason being a part, a big part of that, we looked at what do we do to keep a freshman quarterback comfortable that has a game under his belt."

Yurcich can downplay his role but a lot of freshman quarterbacks thrust into that position come out throwing a multitude of interceptions and then lacking production see their confidence wane and they have to fight to get it back. Rudolph has gained in confidence through his collegiate groundbreaking and now has bragging rights only former Cowboy quarterback and Major League Baseball player Josh Fields has enjoyed recently.

"We needed to establish a running game as much as we could," Yurcich said. "We tried to help ourselves out some with max protection and that was also a big deal for us to get two hats (blockers) on that nose guard every snap.

"Those guys up front really battled for us and our running backs blocked really well. We picked up the blitz well and it is never about one person but everything compliments everything else."

Rudolph had plenty to do with it as well. Rudolph credited the other quarterbacks in J.W. Walsh and Daxx Garman for help as well.

Yurcich also credited Garman, who in his play allowed for more time before Rudolph was pressed into duty.

"You have to recognize that Garman went through the heat of the schedule," Yurcich said. "He went through some very good defenses and it was challenging for Daxx and we weren't always able to protect him.

"At the time he was more ready than Mason. Then as the season progressed we had to make some decisions that were based on what was best for the team, and when you keep it simple and always have in mind what is best for the team to win it usually works best and all the players understand it and have confidence in it and that is what is truly best for Mason Rudolph. That is really how we approached it."

Now some of that is "coach speak" but if you cut through that the answer is there and Yurcich was the major provider.

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