This time of a new year, after a bowl game and before recruiting cranks up again, after the AFCA Convention is always a nerve wracking time for Cowboy fans and for head coach Mike Gundy because that is often when some of his coaching staff have been offered other opportunities and have left leaving the Cowboys short-handed when recruiting cranks back up. This year, following the Alamo Bowl win over 10th-ranked Colorado 38-8, has looked pretty good.
Today, I made a sojourn through the Oklahoma State Cowboys football coaching offices in the West End Zone and had a pleasant conversation with safeties coach Dan Hammerschmidt, where I learned that he is not going to Nashville for the American Football Coaches Association Convention, but defensive graduate assistant Remington Rebstock is.
Most of the full-time assistants are not going to the convention. Gundy is scheduled to speak. Most of the graduate assistants will likely be there alongside Rebstock. It's a big cluster of young coaches wanting to get jobs. However, the big jobs are hired away from any convention spotlight, which might make a tap on Oklahoma State offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich's phone interesting.
There are several media reports in Tennessee that simply list Yurcich as a possible candidate for the Vols QB coach and offensive coordinator and play-calling role.
Earlier this week, Mike DeBord announced he was leaving Tennessee to take the same position at Indiana with new Indiana head coach Tom Allen, who interestingly replace Kevin Wilson before the bowl game. Now, totally off the topic but Wilson is heading to Ohio State as the new offensive coordinator for next season.
Yurcich is one of several candidates listed in connection with the job and the Knoxville Sentinal focused on Vols head coach Butch Jones looking internally for DeBord's successor, while the Chattanooga Time Free Press listed out-of-towners.
"It's all about a fit and finding the proper fit for your football program at what stage it is," Jones said in the Times Free Press story that listed Yurcich. "When we hired Mike DeBord he was the exact fit that we needed at that appropriate time. Now, obviously, it's somebody that fits our profile, somebody that can come in and enhance our offensive system.
"I really liked the way we played football, particularly toward the end of the season," continued Jones. "I think the stats and the points per game and everything we were able to do speak for themselves. I liked our balance. I liked the way we pushed the ball down the field. I liked our formations. I liked our different personnel groupings, our motions.There's a lot that went into it, and we have a very, very good staff here at Tennessee. When you game-plan, it's a team effort and it's a group effort, and I think Mike would be the first to tell you that. (We want) somebody that fits, that can connect with our players, obviously develop our players."
Yurcich has done a pretty amazing job at Oklahoma State keeping the Cowboys offense ranked high nationally despite issues in talent and chemistry in the run game virtually since his arrival. His first season Oklahoma State was 14th nationally in scoring offense averaging 39.1 points per game. His second season the Cowboys were 14th again in scoring offense, seventh in passing offense, and were in the top 25 in total offense.
This past season the Cowboys were outstanding and it reflected in Yurcich being a nominee for the Frank Broyles Award as top assistant coach in the country. OSU averaged 36.2 points and 449.1 yards a game and had a rebirth this season of the run game.
In the Alamo Bowl win over Colorado the Cowboys had 527 yards of total offense, 338yards passing, 189 yards rushing, and averaged 7.1 yards per play.
I contacted Yurcich but received no response. That is not unusual as Yurcich usually keeps his movement and discussions close to the vest.
It's really kind of funny because almost throughout Yurcich's time at Oklahoma State, Cowboys fans have been skeptical of how well he's done at his job.