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Mike Yurcich is Really Good at His Job



It seems like once a season, usually in late September or early October, I have to revive all my bullet points for a “wait a second, people, Mike Yurcich is a really good offensive coordinator” post. It’s that time of year again, and I’ve pieced together a set of counterpoints for all the Yurcich hate I’ve seen of late.

It’s astounding, really. Look at the responses to this tweet. All of that for somebody who has guided the No. 17 and No. 23 offenses in the country in the last two years and is on pace to better those by a wide margin this season.

I get the disdain, I suppose. Dana Holgorsen was cool because he called plays against Baylor like he already knew what was going on there and slammed Red Bulls and lived in a casino hotel. Todd Monken was cool because he said cuss words and backed everything up with big daddy drives in big moments and wasn’t afraid for OSU to put up 70. Yurcich isn’t cool because he’s not a great public speaker and because you never see him losing his mind on camera.

But damn, he’s orchestrating a pretty great offense.

On to the points I’ve seen.

Point No. 1 — I hate that Yurcich only has 10 plays, he needs more plays!

Counterpoint — Why? If OSU only runs one play and continues to score 3.55 points per drive then that should be plenty good enough to win a Big 12 title (it already won one scoring 3.42 points per drive).

Point No. 2 — Oooh baby, think about what Todd Monken would have done with this offense.

Counterpoint — Todd Monken had two first rounders and an offensive line littered with NFL talent, and Yurcich is outpacing him so far. Oklahoma State has scored 213 offensive points on 60 drives in 2017 vs. 250 points on 72 drives in 2011. The former is better than the latter (and the schedules have been the same).

Point No. 3 — But that 2011 team had already played No. 8 Texas A&M through five games!

Counterpoint — Yeah, and it scored 30 points, which is one point fewer than Oklahoma State scored in 2017 against No. 8 TCU.

Point No. 4 — The things Monken and Holgorsen could do with Rudolph!

Counterpoint — One of the things that gets lost with Yurcich is that he landed the most productive recruit in Oklahoma State football history (Weeden was a walk-on, remember) … and he went into ACC/SEC country to get him … and he stole him from LSU!

Point No. 5 — He can’t make in-game adjustments.

Counterpoint — Finally, a point that holds some water. This is Yurcich’s greatest flaw to me. He stubbornly holds on to what Oklahoma State does well or what the game plan was and won’t let it go. The TCU game personified this. This is a fair criticism, and I would imagine Yurcich would even agree with it. That’s part of the gig, and he needs to get better at it for Oklahoma State to win more games.

Counterpoint to the counterpoint — OSU scored TDs or threw INTs on six of its seven second half drives against TCU. You could make the argument that there were adjustments but turnovers (which he doesn’t control) sunk him.

Counterpoint to the counterpoint to the counterpoint — This.

Point No. 6 — Well his talent on the field keeps him around.

Counterpoint — This.

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Point No. 7 — Holgorsen and Monken were just better, OK!

Counterpoint — Even including one of the worst seasons of the Mike Gundy era (2014), Yurcich will likely end his time in Stillwater with close to the same winning percentage as Monken. Here’s how things stand right now.

OSU’s record with Holgorsen: 11-2 (85%)
OSU’s record with Monken: 20-6 (77%)
OSU’s record with Yurcich: 41-16 (72%)

Furthermore, his offense last year was more or less the same as Holgorsen’s 2010 offense and pretty close to Monken’s 2012 offense (I still think 2012 was some of Monk’s best work, though, given that he had Lunt, Walsh and Chelf and his best receiver was Josh Stewart). The greatest argument against Yurcich is that he was far inferior in 2013 with basically Monken’s offense from 2013. He’s also gotten a lot better since then.

Here’s a look.

Screen Shot 2017-10-05 at 11.02.18 AM.jpg

In a vacuum, would I pick Holgorsen and Monken over Yurcich as an offensive coordinator if I was given the option? Yes I would. But has he also been really good over the last few seasons? Yes he has. Both statements can be true. And that’s the rub, right? The question here is how much better could Oklahoma State be on offense. Sure, if Holgorsen stayed for eight years maybe they’re better, but we live in reality, and in reality guys like Holgorsen move on to be head coaches.

I’ve seen some people tout Brandon Weeden to replace Yurcich as an OC (like, right now). Does how insane that sounds resonate? You don’t just roll off the field and into the coordinating booth and start picking plays on Madden for your QB to run. Yurcich isn’t the same coach he was five years ago, and Oklahoma State is better for it.

Yurcich’s greatest flaw is that he followed the legend who followed the legend. We love our offensive coordinators to hold down the turbo button even when the juice is out like we used to do on NBA Jam. Holgorsen and his personality personified that. Monken maybe more so. Yurcich doesn’t. But that doesn’t mean he’s not doing a great job.

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