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Getting To Know Penn State Football Offensive Coordinator Mike Yurcich

After just one season with Kirk Ciarrocca at the helm, Penn State football’s offense has a new leader.

James Franklin officially hired former Texas offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich to hold the same role with the Nittany Lions, the team announced last Friday. He’ll also lead the team’s quarterbacks.

Yurcich has made plenty of stops across the college football landscape and offers 22 years of coaching experience. The Ohio native has 15 years as an offensive coordinator under his belt.

His playing experience as quarterback for the California University of Pennsylvania in the late 90s has clearly helped him as a coach. Last season in Austin, the Longhorns averaged 42.7 points per game along with 475.4 yards. Quarterback Sam Ehlinger threw for 2,566 yards, 26 touchdowns, and five interceptions compared to Sean Clifford’s 16 touchdowns and nine interceptions.

Before that one-season stint with the Longhorns, Yurcich spent a year as Ohio State’s passing game coordinator and quarterbacks coach. En route to a 13-1 record in 2019, the Buckeyes’ passing game was impressive, to say the least. Justin Fields threw for 40 touchdowns compared to just three interceptions and finished with a gaudy 3,273 yards through the air.

Along with those valuable experiences at national powerhouses, Yurcich’s longest and most successful tenure took place at Oklahoma State. He spent six seasons as the Cowboys’ offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach starting in 2013, leading to some serious production.

Over the course of those six years, Oklahoma State averaged 38 points and 478.3 yards per game. Yurcich also helped put up 15 50-point games during his tenure in Stillwater, a feat the Nittany Lions have accomplished four times over the past two seasons.

Yurcich helped develop some serious offensive stars during his time with the Cowboys, including quarterback Mason Rudolph and wide receiver James Washington, both of whom currently play for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Rudolph spent all of his time at Oklahoma State with Yurcich running the offense. He finished his collegiate career with an absurd 13,618 passing yards, 92 touchdowns, and a completion percentage of 63.2%. Washington also benefitted from that air raid offense, as he won the Biletnikoff Award after a 2017 season that included 1,549 receiving yards and 14 total scores.

While Yurcich made some serious noise with Oklahoma State, he cut his teeth as an offensive guru by coaching at Saint Francis, Edinboro, and Shippensburg. Along with those experiences as a running backs coach, quarterbacks coach, and offensive coordinator, Yurcich was a graduate assistant at Indiana from 2003 to 2004.

Yurcich, who’s about three years younger than James Franklin, clearly has a breadth of experience on the offensive side of the ball on multiple levels. Franklin explained in last week’s announcement that he’s extremely excited to welcome Yurcich, a coach “who sets records everywhere he has been an offensive coordinator.”

The record-setting offensive mind will have a chance to prove what he can do for the Nittany Lions right off the bat in 2021. Penn State opens the season with a trip to Camp Randall Stadium to take on Wisconsin this fall.

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About the Author

Will Pegler

Will is a junior majoring in digital and print journalism and is Onward State's sports editor. He is from Darien, Connecticut and is a lifelong Penn State football fan. He loves a good 80's comedy movie, Peaky Blinders, The Office, and the New York Yankees and Giants. You can catch some of his ridiculous sports takes on his Twitter @gritdude and yell at him on his email [email protected]

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