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Football: Mike Yurcich brings Big 12 element to Ryan Day’s offense

Ohio State redshirt sophomore quarterback Dwayne Haskins (7) looks to throw a pass in the second half of the Rose Bowl Game featuring Ohio State and Washington. Ohio State won 28-23. Credit: Casey Cascaldo | Photo Editor

During the 2018 season, Ohio State had been looked at as a Big 12-type offense. With redshirt sophomore Dwayne Haskins at quarterback, the Buckeyes were heavily involved in the passing game, finishing second in the country averaging 373 passing yards per game, completing 70.8 percent of pass attempts, No. 1 in the NCAA.

In his first few hours as head coach, taking over for Urban Meyer immediately after the Rose Bowl, Ryan Day seemingly wanted that Big 12-type offense to continue in the future, signing former Oklahoma State offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Mike Yurcich to a two-year deal as the passing game coordinator and quarterbacks coach.

Yurcich has a reputation for leading high-scoring and high-profile passing offenses. In his tenure at Oklahoma State, the Cowboys averaged 38 points and 478.3 yards of offense per game.

He has led offenses that, in the past eight seasons, have scored 40 points or more in 46.1 percent of the games he has coached in with 15 games with over 50 points scored.

Much of that has to do with the last two quarterbacks that have led the Cowboys offense.

From 2015-17, Mason Rudolph, selected by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the third round of the 2018 NFL Draft, completed at least 62 percent of his pass attempts for at least 3,770 yards in his three seasons at starting quarterback. In his final season with the Cowboys, Rudolph posted a career high 4,904 passing yards, throwing 37 touchdowns compared to nine interceptions.

Rudolph was never much of a run threat, recording 28 yards in 225 career rushes. However, he was viewed as a threat to score on the goal line, recording a career-high 10 rushing touchdowns his senior season.

In 2018, redshirt senior Taylor Cornelius picked up where Rudolph left off, but with a bit more agility. The passing numbers remained, recording 3,978 yards, 32 touchdowns and 13 interceptions in the passing game, but also added 10 touchdowns on the ground, recording 406 yards on 122 carries.

Looking at his tenure at Oklahoma State, Yurcich has had mostly pro-style quarterbacks that have peppered opposing defenses for the past six seasons. But Yurcich offenses do run that same run-pass option that Ohio State thrived in with Haskins and plan to do in the near future with whatever quarterback may be behind center.

Day is still in the process of molding his coaching staff, after the hiring of Yurcich and the promotion of wide receivers coach Brian Hartline to a permanent position on Dec. 8. During bowl preparation, the newly-named head coach was quiet about what his timeline would be for creating his staff.

With the first two hirings he has made, Day has shown that, much to the credit of his background, the offense will continue to be the priority for Ohio State. That no matter the quarterback that will start the season for the Buckeyes next season, the Big 12 element in the offense will remain.

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