Mike the Cowboy (Hot Corner video now updated)
From the 6,000 seats at Seth Grove Stadium to the 60,000 seats at Boone Pickens Stadium — the view will be a stark contrast for newly hired Oklahoma State offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich.
Yurcich, the offensive coordinator for the Shippensburg University football team the past two seasons, was named to the same position at OSU on Thursday.
“Joining the program at Oklahoma State is a tremendous opportunity for me and my family,” Yurcich told OSU. “I am excited to continue the offensive firepower that has been in place at OSU for many years. I’ve often admired the OSU system and I’m looking forward to learning and then teaching the Oklahoma State offense.”
Yurcich joins a staff headed by Mike Gundy and an OSU team that went 8–5 in the 2012 season, including a 58–14 rout of Purdue University in the Heart of Dallas Bowl to close out the year. Gundy’s hire came as a surprise to many but the head coach is adamant that Yurcich will be a good fit.
“Coach Yurcich has 14 years of experience coaching quarterbacks and a thorough background in the passing game,” Gundy told OSU. “He has been a successful offensive coordinator for many years.”
That success came most recently at SU.
Combined with head coach Mark Maciejewski, the Raiders boasted a perennial power the last two seasons, producing a 7–4 record in 2011 and an 11–2 season in 2012.
His mentoring of quarterback Zach Zulli and receivers Trevor Harman, Jacob Baskerville and Bryan Barley ignited the Raiders to their most explosive offensive season in recent memory.
After a 2011 campaign that saw numerous records shattered, Yurcich and the Raider offense catapulted into the national spotlight with their high-flying, up-tempo spread attack. SU bewildered defenses with its variety of formations en route to an 11–2 finish and its first PSAC East title since 2009.
By utilizing Zulli and company to the best of their abilities, Yurcich’s offense led the nation in total offense per game (529.92 yards per game) and was second in the nation in points per game (46.85).
“We congratulate Coach Yurcich and wish him the best of luck at Oklahoma State,” Maciejewski said. “He was an integral member of the Red Raider family and a valuable instructor to our outstanding players who achieved many great things both on and off the field last season.”
More impressively, Yurcich was the main component in the maturation of Zulli. With Yurcich’s presence, the junior gunslinger learned to interpret defenses better and read his progressions easier. With Yurcich at the offensive helm, Zulli passed his way into the record books, tossing 54 touchdowns and receiving the coveted Harlon Hill Trophy.
Yurcich will go from coaching the Harlon Hill winner to a Division I team that has produced mirrored images in offensive production. Under former offensive coordinator Todd Monken, OSU finished fourth in the nation in total yards (547 yards per game), third in the nation in scoring offense (45.69 points per game) and fifth in the nation in passing yardage (336.46 yards per game).
Yurcich will inherit a myriad of opportunities in the 2013 season. The quarterback position remains unsettled as three different quarterbacks took snaps last year in an injury-riddled season.
However, he has the offensive firepower at hand to take the 8–5 team and make a run at a Big 12 title.