Taylor Stubblefield Excited For ‘Commanding’ Mike Yurcich, State Of Wide Receivers

Penn State football wide receivers coach Taylor Stubblefield has much to look forward to heading into the 2021 season.

With Jahan Dotson coming back for another season and the emergence of some young wideouts in 2020, Stubblefield has plenty of talent at his disposal. Additionally, new offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich is bringing some new things to Penn State’s offense.

“[Yurcich’s] energy is infectious now,” Stubblefield said Wednesday. “He has a loud voice. He has a commanding voice, and the guys can see his fire, his fire to be great. He just commands that attention. He commands greatness. You can see it. Why he’s had so much success with his offenses is because he knows what he wants.”

Stubblefield’s comments are nothing new, as players and coaches have been praising Yurcich ever since his hiring in January. The new offensive coordinator has already been labeled a “mastermind” and a “mad scientist” since arriving in Happy Valley.

While Yurcich certainly commands greatness, Stubblefield said that he does it in a way that’s understood and respected, not misinterpreted.

“But he’s also not gonna be petty on the way in which to get there,” he said. “You know what, if our split is a little bit wider than it needs to be…it’s OK, we can get the job done there.”

Stubblefield spoke highly about second-year wideout Parker Washington, who had an electric true freshman campaign with 36 catches for 489 yards and six touchdowns.

“When I have the guys over to the house, I can see why he has that [running back] body type,” Stubblefield said. “He likes to eat now. It might be the first wide receiver that I’ve seen stay in the kitchen the entire time he was at my house. He’s earned that body.”

In all seriousness, though, Stubblefield praised Washington’s strength in the weight room and ability on the field.

“[Washington’s] tough to bring down,” he said. “He’s strong. I mean, the way that he’s cleaning in the weight room with our strength and conditioning coaches, his lower body, man, he is thick, and he’s powerful, and he’s explosive. And that’s also what helps him get in and out of the breaks as well as he’s been able to do it.”

Last season’s breakout star, Jahan Dotson, is back for another year with the Nittany Lions following his 52 catches for 884 and eight touchdowns in 2020. While his on-the-field ability speaks for itself, Dotson’s role as a leader is unique for the Nittany Lions. He isn’t the loudest guy in the room, but he’s embracing a leadership role in other aspects.

“Jahan is quiet by nature,” Stubblefield said. “He has that slow-burning fire inside of him. It may not be that big blaze that you might want when you’re looking for a dynamic leader, but Jahan does some things extremely well. Leadership does not have to be somebody who has the loudest voice, but it has to be somebody who has influence over others.”

“What Jahan has been able to do, really in the last few months and even part of last year, he’s been able to take guys to the side and talk to him in their ear a little bit closer than maybe somebody would do with a loud voice,” Stubblefield said.

The coach continued, noting that Dotson does things “the right way” and is learning and getting more comfortable doing the extra things. He said he’s “excited” to see Dotson’s growth and is proud of him.

Behind Dotson and Washington is a large group of receivers ready to make an impact. Stubblefield expressed the importance of depth at the position so that if one guy goes down, someone else can fill in without much drop-off or no drop-off at all.

Stubblefield mentioned Daniel George and KeAndre Lambert-Smith as some known guys behind Dotson and Washington. Additionally, Malick Meiga, Jaden Dottin, and Cam Sullivan-Brown are players who can also emerge as depth pieces at the position.

Last season was Stubblefield’s first as Penn State’s receivers coach. Naturally, he’s now focused more on helping his players mastering their craft, rather than learning it.

“The difference this year than last year is last year it was kind of learning my style, me learning them, teaching some of your foundational things that you find very important in wide receiver play,” he said.

“You’re just having to teach that, you’re having to walk through it…You’re now trying to master it, you’re trying to really perfect the craft on, let’s say, a single jab, a double jab,” Stubblefield continued. “The foundation of the releases…How we can use all the tools that we’re gonna have in our toolbox? How can we use them the way that they need to be used?”

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About the Author

Gabe Angieri

After a four-year career with Onward State, Gabe is now a college graduate and off to the real world. He shockingly served as the blog’s managing editor during the 2022-23 school year and covered football for much of his Onward State tenure, including trips to the Outback Bowl and Rose Bowl. For any professional inquiries, please email Gabe at [email protected]. You can still see his bad sports takes on Twitter at @gabeangieri.

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