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Oklahoma State football: Mike Yurcich looking forward to Mississippi State opener

by Berry Tramel Modified: July 10, 2013 at 4:10 pm •  Published: July 8, 2013
OKLAHOMA STATE UNIVERSITY / OSU / COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Oklahoma State offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich coaches the quarterbacks during an OSU spring football practice in Stillwater, Okla., Wednesday, March 13, 2013. Photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman
OKLAHOMA STATE UNIVERSITY / OSU / COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Oklahoma State offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich coaches the quarterbacks during an OSU spring football practice in Stillwater, Okla., Wednesday, March 13, 2013. Photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman
I wrote about new OSU offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich for my columns in the Sunday and Monday Oklahoman. You can read them here and here.

But I had a lot of leftover stuff I thought I would share:

* Yurcich on what he’s most looking forward to:

“The first game against Mississippi State, I’m excited for that game. Just to get up in the booth and start calling plays and really looking forward to fall camp and seeing the fellows again and being able to coach ‘em. Getting in the film room and meeting rooms. You kind of miss it over the summer. You want to go on vacation, that sort of thing, but you’re really itching.”

* Yurcich on becoming the patron saint of lower-division coaches, perhaps replacing Chip Kelly, who in 2006 was the offensive coordinator at New Hampshire and six years later was head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles:

“No smaller-level coaches have just come out and said that. But you would think it would have that effect on some folks. The point is, there’s a lot of good coaches everywhere.

“I don’t think you can ever think that you’ve arrived. I told my wife, me getting the job, it’s great, but having success is really important. Getting here, that’s the little thing. The big thing is what I do from here on out and how effective we are as an offense from here on out at Oklahoma State.

“I don’t want to take too much stock in thinking about, ‘well here’s where I came from,’ and assess all that. That’s not my job. That doesn’t concern me anymore.

“Yes, I understand your question. I do think people recognize that anything’s possible. I think that’s really important. But the thing I understand, and I always have, and when you go out and recruit and you meet all these high school coaches, and you’re around Division II a lot, you understand there’s good coaches everywhere.”

* Yurcich on having to defend himself to skeptics, perhaps even on the recruiting trail:

“Not at all. I feel very comfortable, especially in the recruiting element, because you’re dealing with high school coaches. I’ve been in the room with Division II on my shirt, and now I’m in there with a Division I label with Oklahoma State on my chest.

“High school coaches really understand that football is football, and it’s about getting your players to play, and ultimately it’s about what kind of players you have and how fast you can get them prepared and how well they know your scheme and how good they can get from a technique standpoint, from a fundamental standpoint. That’s what’s really important.”

* Yurcich’s two-year contract calls for $400,000 a year — $200,000 in salary, $200,000 in a talent fee for appearances, etc. He’s also in line for a variety of bonuses, which I think are very interesting:

National title: $20,000.

Big 12 championship: 10,000.

Top-10 final ranking: $5,000.

11-15 final ranking: $3,000.

16-25 final ranking: $2,000.

BCS bowl: two months compensation (approximately $66,666).

Other bowl: one month compensation, (approximately $33,333).

So here’s the crazy part. If OSU wins the national title, you would think a Big 12 title would go along with that. So Yurcich’s bonuses would total a little over $100,000. But he could make two thirds of that with just a BCS bowl appearance. Strange, the weight given to a BCS bowl.

* Yurcich on his first exposure to OSU football:

“I don’t know what year it was, goes a few years back, I had a drill tape from Gunter Brewer (former OSU receivers coach) that a buddy had sent to me. It had Dez Bryant on there doing a bunch of drills.

“That tape was really significant in my development as a coach. I used it and I watched it, along with a lot of other tapes. But that was really kind of the first time I was able to watch cutups of Oklahoma State and the offense they were running. I implemented that into our wide receiver drills.

“I knew about Oklahoma State football. I knew how good they were.  Any game with Oklahoma State, I’ve always tried to DVR it or watch it or do whatever I could, because I’ve always enjoyed watching that type of offense. So I pretty much knew what the culture was and the environment and what the situation was.”

* Yurcich on the difference between the states of Oklahoma and Pennsylvania:

“It’s a little different, all the Bermuda grass, the storms, obviously a little bit different.

“It’s funny. We lived in Ohio, I lived right off the shores of Lake Erie, like 200 yards from Lake Erie. All my neighbors, all my friends, nobody had a boat. But we had this big lake right there. Then I moved to Indiana, and there was no lakes, but everybody had a boat.

“In Ohio growing up, everybody had a basement, no tornadoes. I move out here, no basement, all these tornadoes. It’s kind of funny.

“But the people are very kind, the steaks are very good. It’s a place we’re really excited to be here.

* Yurcich’s wife, Julie, on the comparisons between Oklahoma and the upper Midwest (she grew up in Youngstown, Ohio, and the Yurciches arrived from Shippensburg, Pa.):

“People are very comparable. People are here are hard-working, nice, genuine people. People in Pennsylvania the same way.

“People have been really, really nice people. I’m happy through all of our travels, we’ve been fortunate to be associated with teams and people that are all about family and working hard. I could do without all the storms, but I have seen who Oklahomans really are. I feel blessed to be in a state like this.”

* Yurcich on how much of an imprint he’s making on the OSU offense:

“Not so much schematically. Over time, that may change. Right now, it’s more or less a semantic type deal. How I see things a little different on tape. How we talk as quarterbacks. But schematically, very little imprint.

“It’s hard to imprint when you’re averaging the statistics that we have and you’re dealing with a bunch of guys that really understand the scheme. The justification of imprinting something new may satisfy the ego, but how efficient does it make us on offense is the question?

“So that’s not important to me. What’s important to me, every offense is going to be a little different. I don’t care who’s coaching the offense. From year to year, it’s going to get tweaked annually, whether it’s naturally, or personnel. 2010 wasn’t exactly the same as 2011, and 2011 wasn’t like exactly the same as 2012, and 2012’s not going to be exactly the same as 2013.

“It evolves, probably more from a personnel standpoint. Sometimes it’s input from your players, how they see things and what’s beneficial to them. To put them in the best situation possible.”

* Chuck Yurcich on his son now being in line for a major-college head coaching job:

“If you’re interested in coaching, your ambition is to be a head coach. This gives him an opportunity down the road he had been striving far. You’re going to have many more contacts, many more opportunities. But right now, he’s not even thinking about that.”

* Yurcich on any surprises in his six months at OSU:

“I don’t know. Like I said, when you walk into these facilities, you’re wowed. It’s a heck of a place. But as far as surprises, I can’t say I was shocked or taken aback by anything as far as how we operate.

“I think we’re very fast on offense. But that didn’t surprise me, because I’ve seen Oklahoma State and I knew they were fast. We came out for the spring ball, watching the first workouts, yeah, we were fast. I knew we would be fast. I knew there would be a big adjustment from what I was used to, from an athletic standpoint, but I was anticipating that.”


by Berry Tramel
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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