, Muskogee, OK

March 14, 2013

Yurcich, offense begin to mesh

Phoenix staff, wire report

— STILLWATER — Mike Yurcich didn’t have to see a player to know he’s in a different place since arriving as Oklahoma State’s defensive coordinator from Shippensburg State.

“The biggest difference for me is when you step in here – and I don’t care where you come from – when you come from somewhere else and you step into these facilities, it’s different,” he said Wednesday when Cowboys coaches and players met the media for the first time this spring. “There’s no question about it. It’s just tremendous.”

Gushing about the facilities as well as strength and conditioning coach (Rob) Glass — ”the way he operates his strength and conditioning program was something that was very impressive when I first came — is one thing, all quickly assessed on first impressions. That’s not the case for the stable of quarterbacks he has to work with in Clint Chelf, Wes Lunt and J.W. Walsh.

“They’re great young men and I’m not going to comment on the quarterback situation until I’ve seen them a little bit more down the line,” he said.

Off the field, he’s become a little more familiar.

“They get along real well and I think that speaks volumes about their maturity level and who they are as people,” he said. “I know they care more about this program than they do their individual needs and that’s when you know you’ve got something special – when you see unselfishness, you see leadership and you see those qualities and those young men have that.”

Walsh said the quarterbacks have helped their new supervisor adjust.

“He did a really great job of learning a lot of (the offense) on his own and picking it up really quickly. There were some little nuances where he wanted to pitch in and there are some things in the offense where maybe we had done things a little differently. He would ask questions about what we were most comfortable with. He wanted the best for us.”

Yurcich’s relationships aren’t just limited to the snap-takers.

“At first, he was quiet,” ex-Union High receiver Tracy Moore said. “He’s a lot more laid-back than the last two offensive coordinators were, but he’s all about business. You don’t get many wasted words with him. When he talks, people listen.”

Lunt became the first OSU true freshman to open a season at quarterback since at least 1950 but injured a knee against Louisiana-Lafayette in mid-September.  Walsh replaced him and then hurt a knee against Iowa state. Chelf fniished as the starter in the last five games and was named MVP in the Heart of Dallas Bowl win against Purdue.

Lunt expects there to be competition again this spring.

“Clint is getting the most reps, which he should – he did a great job ending the season,” he  said. “J.W. and I are going to push him every day and whatever happens, happens.”