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On Mike Yurcich and the intricacies of playcalling

On the unfair criticism of Mike Yurcich and the reality of Oklahoma State’s offense.



A lot of people, including me, have been crushing Mike Yurcich for the past few days for his poor playcalling performance on Saturday, and understandably so.

The staple of these complaints has been the second-down fade he called for JW Walsh to Tracy Moore at the goal line when OSU was trying to take the lead in the 4th quarter.

Except that…he didn’t call it.

And apparently there’s some confusion about whether or not it was even an optional checkdown. Watch Mike Gundy talk about it at 16:15 here:

He acts like that’s not even a choice, that it was supposed to be a run the whole way.

Whether or not that’s true — and if it is, my gosh JW, know what you’re good at — one truism remains of any criticism lobbed at Mike Yurcich about the plays he does or doesn’t call.

Oklahoma State’s offense is laden with combo plays — that is, plays that are run/pass options based on how the defense lines up. You can read about that — and lust over the Brandon Weeden offense — here.

So a lot of times when we say “I can’t believe the game Yurcich called, that was TRBL!” Well, our disdain might be more properly redirected at No. 4.

I’m not sure how much leeway he has compared to what Weeden had but the offense hasn’t changed much so I would imagine it to still be quite a bit.

A lot of the Oklahoma State is about executing the small number of plays they run. We think of offensive coordinators dialing up calls like we play Madden — thousands of choices, hope you make the right one!

The reality is much different than that — there are route trees for receivers and run/pass options (like I mentioned earlier) and a lot of it has to do with your general offensive theory and how well that is played out on Saturdays.

And OSU’s offensive line did their OC no favors last week. You can have Tom Brady throwing to Jerry Rice and if your offensive line can’t block me and Amilian then you don’t have much.

The criticism of Yurcich has been, in my opinion, mostly fair, I suppose, mostly because it doesn’t feel like he’s created space with the offense. I don’t know if that’s a Saturdays issue or a middle-of-the-week issue but I don’t think he’s always put put Walsh in a position to succeed (why is OSU playing the running QB and not running him, especially out of the diamond?)

It’s an issue that needs to be taken care of to get this offense rolling again.

One thing Todd Monken was so good at was putting guys in positions on the field with the ball and nobody within 10 yards of them. That felt like every Josh Stewart play last season.

Even without Weeden, Monken had the offense cranking in 2012 to the tune of the most yards in a single season in school history (yes, more than 2011).

Yurcich hasn’t demonstrated that yet — this year’s team is on pace to be the fourth-most futile of the Gundy era[1. 2013 — 6162 yards (projected), 2012 — 7111 yards, 2011 — 7096 yards, 2010 — 6763 yards, 2009 — 4774 yards, 2008 — 6340 yards, 2007 — 6322 yards, 2006 — 5327 yards, 2005 — 3573 yards.] — and he needs to.


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