OSU's Yurcich Props Texas Tech's Defense

Oklahoma State offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich is hoping Texas Tech is the cure for the Cowboys running game.

You've heard the term "coach speak." A good dose of it came Monday at the Oklahoma State football news conference and you can't blame the individual spouting the "coach speak" because he was likely taught like I was not to say anything bad about anybody or just say nothing at all. But when you are Mike Yurcich, the offensive coordinator at Oklahoma State, and you are asked about the Texas Tech defense that the Cowboys will face on Saturday afternoon in Lubbock, Texas at 2:30 p.m. then you have to answer the question and say something.

"They're a team that moves around a lot," Yurcich started with his assessment on the question about the Red Raiders defense. "They have a lot of different blitzes, stunts and line movements, so we have to be very careful with the amount of plays we put in because of the amount of defenses, looks, stunts and schemes that they give you. They're a very active group and they like to be disruptive and they have overall good speed on defense."

The numbers don't lie. Coming off a game last Saturday at Oklahoma where the Texas Tech defense allowed 63 points and gave up 405 rushing yards to OU and total offense of 617 yards that plummeted Texas Tech to last in the Big 12 in total defense with an average of 603.4 yards allowed. They are last in rushing defense too allowing an average of 296 yards a game, but they are ninth in scoring defense allowing 46.4 points a contest.

The Oklahoma State offense is now averaging 457.5 yards and 39.2 points per game. They are averaging just 122 rushing yards a game, so this will be weakness vs. weakness on Saturday and something will have to give.

Yurcich agreed with head coach Mike Gundy that the Cowboys run game was marginally better than it had been with the 202 yards of net rushing in the 58-10 win over Kansas. However, the Cowboys still have to be imaginative and Yurcich certainly has in producing yards on the ground. This may be the last chance to really gain some confidence in any kind of traditional ground attack.  

"It'll be interesting to see what ideas our other assistants have," Yurcich said of the progression of coming up with the game plan for this week which went on into Monday night. "Our other assistants do a good job of game planning. They give a lot of input when we meet and try to formulate the game plan."

Meanwhile, the passing game is just fine with the Cowboys third in the Big 12 and averaging 335.5 yards a game through the air. Last Saturday, James Washington was fantastic with a couple of highlight-reel catches, including a one-handed grab for a touchdown. The wide receivers are way ahead of their pace from last season averaging nearly 80 more yards a game in receiving yards and last year they averaged 1.2 touchdowns per game with this year the receiver corps already averaging 2.0 touchdowns a game.   

"It speaks volumes of practicing and staying with the plan and getting better," Yurcich surmised after being told those numbers. "With time and gaining more experience, you're going to have more productivity and I think that's what that is."

The receivers made that huge jump from last season to this one and here's hoping the Texas Tech defense can speed up the progression of the offensive line, the running backs, and the overall run game this Saturday in Lubbock. A decent run game could come in very handy in the month of November as developments across the conference, like the fact that Baylor quarterback Seth Russell is out for the season, has the Big 12 championship and a berth in the CFP up for grabs for the most consistent winner.


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