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Breadth of Past Personalities Proves It Doesn’t Matter Who OSU Hires as Offensive Coordinator

Mike Yurcich and Dana Holgorsen could not be more different, and it seems like that should matter.



I will regret that headline, won’t I?

Oklahoma State is on the hunt for a new offensive coordinator to replace Mike Yurcich, who is headed to Ohio State for a nice raise at a better program. Several names have emerged — including a fun darkhorse — but I’m here for the “none of them really matter” storyline.

In the modern era (since 2010) Oklahoma State has thrived under three very different personalities with running QBs, throwing QBs, dual-threat QBs, walk-on QBs, NFL QBs and (at times with the WildJustice) no QB at all.

Sure, OSU doesn’t want to hire, say, me to run its offense. But they just got off a four-year heater with a dude who drew up plays with LEGOs on YouTube and made $55,000 running a team Chuba could beat by himself. And we’re worried if they get the right fit following that?

I keep going back to something Mike Gundy said after the Liberty Bowl win on Monday. “Our culture is for real,” he flexed on the field in the aftermath of that 38-33 victory. Even though he was talking about his players, the same could be said of his coaches.

Clint Chelf came on our podcast a few weeks ago and said he and his teammates had to teach Yurcich the offense when he got there in 2013. There’s probably a joke in there about Yurcich, but the point is that OSU’s culture — say whatever you will about it — can and probably will assimilate most competent offensive coordinators. Heck, a large chunk of OSU’s plays — the RPOs — aren’t even coordinator dependent. It’s as close to plug-and-play as it gets when it comes to that job.

Gundy literally built the thing so that would be true! Continuity is king when it comes to the way Gundy runs an organization, and the next hire will likely be made with that as the lens through which Gundy looks.

“Continuity is huge,” Gundy said last week. “I guess I can freely say this now, it’s like if you look around the country at athletic directors who say, ‘We’ve had a couple bad years, but I’m staying with this coach’ and then they end up doing pretty good.

“They made a much better choice because on a smaller scale, when you make a change, you’re changing a lot. Unless you’re in a program if you have really, really, really good players, it’s difficult to make a wholesale change as a coordinator or head coach and then start showing up within the first couple years.”

That’s not to say Yurcich wasn’t good or that he didn’t matter or that anyone could do the job. He did it well. He hauled in some strong recruits — Mason Rudolph, Spencer Sanders and Brendan Costello among them — and I think he was probably pretty brilliant when it comes to in-week planning.

His pitfalls were in-game adjustments and an inability to resonate with OSU fans (although following a legend like Monken makes that tough, and that’s not necessarily part of the job anyway).

It’s true that OSU’s offense wasn’t that good his first two years. It’s also true that their skill position players were … not the best! Now? The whole thing is teed up with a Sanders-Chuba-Tylan-Tyron group that appears talented enough that we could crowdsource each individual play for 2019 to our entire PFB community, and OSU would still put up 30 a game.

A list.

  • Coordinator A: 2.96 points per drive
  • Coordinator B: 2.97 points per drive
  • Coordinator C: 3.22 points per drive

A is Holgorsen in 2010. B is the average of Yurcich’s last four years. C is the average of Monken’s two years. Monken was better than the other two, but he also had a first round pick at QB for one of those years. He’s also probably the type of coach that’s severely overqualified for an offensive coordinator position in college.

The point is that the Holgorsen-Monken-Yurcich triumvirate is as wildly different as you can get from a personality standpoint. Monken is loud and hilarious. Yurcich is quiet and more subtle with his humor. Dana may be crazy. But they all fit into the bigger picture. They all helped usher in a new era of OSU offenses. They all killed from a statistical standpoint.

To be sure, this is not an anti-Yurcich argument. It’s a pro-culture argument. Would I have liked to keep Yurcich another year? Sure, but I don’t think is as tricky of a spot as Gundy was in last year without a defensive coordinator. I don’t think you have to make a big splash and offer Kliff, like, $3 million a year to come call plays.

I think Gundy fundamentally understands how to let talented people build a good offense and that he’ll continue to let them do so. Would he maybe choose someone with more in-game experience at the FBS level to quell some of the outcries about Yurcich? Sure — and that’s why Josh Henson will probably eventually be his pick — but even if he goes off the board again, we have six years’ worth of evidence that it probably won’t matter much at all.


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