Mike Yurcich on Ohio State: ‘That’s what intrigued me most’

Ohio State Buckeyes football Mike Yurcich

As Ryan Day heads into his first spring practice as the head coach of the Ohio State football program, there are a lot of unanswered questions about his team.

Almost the entire defensive coaching staff changed in the last month, including two new co-coordinators.

On offense, Urban Meyer handed over his whistle to Day, meaning his particular set of offensive preferences is now gone, too.

And while Day and offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson are back to provide some stability, new passing game coordinator Mike Yurcich will bring some additional elements.

Yurcich comes to Columbus after a wildly successful stint as the offensive coordinator for Oklahoma State.

His Cowboy offense finished 7th in the nation in S&P+ in 2018, an opponent-adjusted metric that measures offensive efficiency and explosiveness.

That wasn’t just a one-year fluke, either. They ranked 4th in 2017, and 7th in 2016. Only one other program (Oklahoma) managed to finish in the top-10 in all three of those seasons.

With a returning offensive coordinator and a head coach who specialized on his side of the ball, it’s reasonable to wonder how much influence Yurcich will really have. But he said he has to get up to speed on what the Buckeyes do now before he can worry about that.

“For me it’s a time to learn. It’s a critical time for me to develop and to learn what Ohio State does on offense,” Yurcich said.

There are certainly overlaps between what Yurcich has run at Oklahoma State and what Day and Wilson have done in Columbus.

“There’s a lot of carryover, so there’s a lot of similar concepts but there’s a lot different,” Yurcich said. “That’s what intrigued me most about this particular position is the dynamics of this offense and how comprehensive it is and how quarterback-friendly this system is.”

That quarterback position is another source of intrigue, but also one more reason there is so much uncertainty around the Buckeye offense right now.

Sophomore Justin Fields is widely considered the front-runner to win the job. But redshirt freshman Matthew Baldwin has already played in the system for a year, and has a significant leg up in understanding the offense.

Yurcich didn’t want to get into evaluating the two quarterbacks in early February. He told reporters he was familiar with Baldwin from his days as a Texas high school star, but had only watched Fields on film. And he wants to spent the weeks leading up to the start of spring football learning more about the quarterbacks he’s now in charge of.

“What we have to do is take this group of guys and see where our strengths are, where our weaknesses are, where we can grow the most and try to become the best offense we can be in maximizing our personnel.”