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Penn State, Mike Yurcich Raising The Intensity Ahead Of Tough Schedule

If you had to pick one word to describe to describe Penn State football offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich, “intense” could be the perfect one.

But with a tough schedule off the bat for the Nittany Lions, Yurcich’s intensity could be just what they need. The former University of Texas coach oozes passion for football and doesn’t pull punches when talking about his team.

“Where are we as a receiver room? Not where we need to be. None of them,” Yurcich said at media day Saturday. “I don’t care which individual you look at on our entire offensive unit. We’re not where we need to be yet. We’re always going to have that mentality.”

Penn State just kicked off fall camp this week, so it’s not too crazy that Yurcich is this hard on his crew. However, the Nittany Lions’ September 4 date with Wisconsin is slowly creeping up and is now less than a month away.

Since this is Yurcich’s first year in charge of the offensive unit, lots of questions remain about just how fast Penn State can install his gameplan. Yurcich’s scheme will be the third different one in three years for the Nittany Lions and he quite matter-of-factly said he didn’t know how long it will take to get things rolling.

His solution? Plan as hard as he can and focus on the “relentless pursuit to get better and improve” with a tough-love coaching style.

“That’s a fine line of knowing when to apply that pressure, make them sweat, make them consernate, but then also build them up and give them confidence,” Yurcich said. “So that’s the dance you do.”

One player this intense mindset could gel well with is Penn State’s star receiver Jahan Dotson, who agreed at media that he’s often hard on himself as well. Dotson said his father was hard on him growing up, pushing him to be a better version of himself.

So far, Dotson’s hardcore mentality has helped him and the rest of the offense fit right in with Yurcich’s coaching style.

“We love it. We know that’s just going to push us to be great and wouldn’t rather have it any other way, for him to be hard on us,” Dotson said. “We have to be hard on each other. It’s kinda teaching us how to coach ourselves.”

Sophomore wide receiver Parker Washington seem’s to be responding well to the Mike Yurcich experience as well, going as far to say it’s been “perfect” so far.

Yurcich and his new offensive mindset go beyond just Penn State’s wide receivers. Sean Clifford and the rest of the quarterback room seem to be upping the intensity and locking in on a one-day-at-a-time approach, too.

“It’s really good,” Clifford said. “I think we’re in a good spot. We’re confident as ever, ready to grind these days out. We’ve got day two today and that’s all that matters.”

Perhaps more than in years’ past, Penn State’s mentality and fall camp will be crucial to success this season. Opening the season against Wisconsin on the road will be no easy tasks and matchups with Ball State and Auburn aren’t to be overlooked, either.

Typically the Nittany Lions can work out some offseason kinks in the early games against nonconference opponents. In 2021, they’ll have to be war-ready the second the season kicks off. It’ll be a “tremendous challenge,” according to James Franklin.

Dotson thinks Yurcich’s intensity will be a great tool to help weather the early-season storm.

“We know that we’ve got to start out the gate strong in the season,” Dotson said. “We have to come out firing on all cylinders. We embrace it all.”

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About the Author

Ryan Parsons

Ryan is a redshirt senior majoring in business and journalism from "Philadelphia" and mostly writes about football nowadays. You can follow him on Twitter @rjparsons9 or say hi via email at [email protected]

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