OSU football notebook: Mike Yurcich — cautiously — talks ball security

The Cowboys have just one turnover so far this season, a J.W. Walsh interception against Lamar.
by Gina Mizell Published: September 25, 2013
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Mike Yurcich looked at the podium inside the press box of Boone Pickens Stadium, determined it must be made of fake wood, and then knocked on his head instead.

The Oklahoma State offensive coordinator had been asked about the Cowboys' ability to hang onto the football so far this season, as a first-half interception thrown by J.W. Walsh against Lamar is their only turnover through three games.

“You kind of feel like you're in the dugout and it's the eighth inning and you don't want to talk about that no-no. You don't want to talk about that no-hitter,” Yurcich said. “So it's good, we've got to keep it up, we've gotta continue to work at it, blah blah blah …”

Yurcich said ball security was an emphasis the first time he met Cowboy coach Mike Gundy to interview for the job he eventually landed. And it's remained that way, even coming up Monday morning before meeting with the media.

“It's something that we do every day,” Yurcich said. “Our assistant coaches to a great job of communicating and facilitating drills that help us to where Saturday, it's just habit. It's muscle memory. And that stuff comes throughout the week, and it comes with effort, and our players do a good job of understanding those fundamentals and working hard at them.”

West Virginia, OSU's opponent Saturday, has forced eight turnovers through four games.

VERSATILE WEST VIRGINIA RUNNING BACKS A CONCERN

Dana Holgorsen's Air Raid spread offense is known as a pass-heavy system. But with plenty of young players at quarterback and receiver, West Virginia has relied heavily on running backs Charles Sims and Dreamius Smith so far this season.

Not just to carry the football. To catch the football, too.

Sims and Smith both average more than five yards per carry and rank in the top 7 in the Big 12 in rushing at 82 yards per game and 62.8 yards per game, respectively. But Sims, a postgraduate transfer from Houston, is also tied for the team lead with 12 catches and has tallied 81 receiving yards.

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by Gina Mizell
OSU Sports Reporter
Gina Mizell joined The Oklahoman in August of 2011 as the Oklahoma State beat writer, where she covered the Cowboys' historic run to the Big 12 championship and Fiesta Bowl in her first season on the job. Before arriving in Stillwater, Gina was...
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