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Weekday Update: Yurcich Putting the Pieces Together After Years of Hate



The Weekday Update is PFB’s take on a laid-back conversation with those Oklahoma State guys and gals you just crave a little more information about.

This week, we stray from the OSU student-athlete and focus in on one of those who coaches them. Offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich was the punchline to a lot of jokes in years past. He is clapping back in 2017.

He heard it.

Mike Yurcich tried not to pay attention to it, but he knew it existed. If you search “#FireYurcich” on Twitter and scroll as far back as you can, the server will only take you back to the start of the 2013 season. Since then, there have been thousands of #FireYurcich tweets. You may have even sent one out.

People posted this.

And this.

And, sorry Cade, this.

Now it will be a miracle if Yurcich is not hired for a head job somewhere or takes the same position at a somehow bigger school after this season. He has earned it by averaging .67 points per play so far this year.

All those who begged for a man to lose his job are not doing so anymore. In fact, through three weeks, there has only been one #FireYurcich tweet. Compare that with the 83 that were sent off Oct. 18, 2014, after OSU lost 42-9 on the road at TCU, and I’d say that’s progress.

“It’s like the quarterback position,” Yurcich said. “You get all the glory. You get all the blame.”

Yurcich said that’s where some old school coaches get turned off because of stories like this one where media outlets start like ours to give “offensive minds” fame and attention. Some guys become “celebrities.”

“You’re a football coach,” he said. “You’re no different than a business manager that has to manage 250 people. You only have to manage 50.”

Yurcich said having the right guys, the right 50, is obviously a huge part to his success, justified or not. Having a total understanding of the schemes, leverages, routes and reactions is huge, he said.

He has gotten better at some of the other parts of his job, too, he said, and that’s evident. Some of the plays Yurcich has drawn up have been magic, and he seems to have an artistic rhythm to this offense now. He said after being in the system for his fifth year now, he is becoming more familiar with its intricacies.

“But I do not want to say ‘more comfortable’ by any stretch of the imagination,” he said. “Comfort can be a bad thing at times. I don’t like to feel comfortable.”

Communication is the final piece to the job, and it goes so much further than a draw on third and 12. Coach Mike Gundy tells his players all the time, “Do your job,” Yurcich said. He started wondering, “What’s my job?”

“My job is communicating,” Yurcich said. “And not everybody wants to hear what you have to say all the time.”

He said he is better at that in 2017. He is better at listening, too, but he said if you don’t have the right players to talk to, communication “doesn’t mean a whole hill of beans.”

“There’s a lot of good coordinators out there right now that have losing records,” Yurcich said. “It’s just they don’t have all the ingredients to win. It takes team. It takes everybody.”

But it had to start somewhere, and that was with a then-youngster from a Division II school called Shippensburg. Gundy had to replace Todd Monken and Dana Holgorsen, who both got head coaching jobs soon thereafter. Those two victimized defenses with the pace the OSU offense was running at, which is partially why so many people couldn’t hop on the Yurcich bandwagon.

Now in 2017, all the hate has turned into acceptance of a guy many thought of as a possibly hazardous hire.

“I know it was a risk, but it wasn’t it wasn’t as big a risk as people thought, to me,” Gundy said.

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