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Football: Mike Yurcich returns home to Ohio State

Ohio State passing game coordinator and quarterbacks coach Mike Yurcich speaks to the media on National Signing Day. Credit: Colin Gay | Sports Editor

The decision for Mike Yurcich to come to Ohio State was an easy one.

Even after six seasons at Oklahoma State, where he leaves an offense that was No. 10 in passing yards per game in 2018, the new Ohio State passing game coordinator and quarterbacks coach called the decision to join head coach Ryan Day’s staff a “no-brainer.”

“You know, Ohio State and why I came here, there’s probably about 105 good reasons right now for me to talk about,” Yurcich said. “It was part coming home and becoming — or being part of something as great as Ohio State. I’m very humbled, and my family is very humbled to be a part of that.”

Yurcich, a Euclid, Ohio native, is switching OSU’s to coach in his home state for the first time in his career.

For Day, this return to Ohio was key in finding members of his staff.

“He was a good fit because he and his wife are from Ohio, and they wanted to come back, wanted to make sure we had Ohio guys on the staff who wanted to be here,” Day said.

But there is plenty more that Yurcich brings to the table that Day found appealing.

In Yurchich’s past four seasons with the Cowboys, he has had a quarterback finish in the top 20 in passing yards, with Mason Rudolph finishing No. 1 in the country in 2017.

Last year, it was Taylor Cornelius who led Oklahoma State to the No. 10 passing offense in the NCAA, while Dwayne Haskins led Ohio State to No. 2.

“The fact that he came from Oklahoma State, had done really well as a coordinator calling plays for the last six years, wanting to be here, that was the second thing,” Day said. “He brings so much to the table. He’s called plays. He’s been part of and run one of the more proficient offenses in college football the last six years. I thought that was a home run on both ends.”

With a change of teams comes a change of quarterback for which Yurcich will have to scheme.

Instead of Rudolph, Cornelius or Haskins, Yurcich will have Justin Fields, who earned immediate eligibility on Feb. 8 after transferring from Georgia following the 2018 season.

Fields is a dual-threat quarterback who threw for 328 yards and ran for 266 yards, scoring eight touchdowns — four through the air and four on the ground — in his only season at Georgia.

Rudolph ran for 28 yards on 225 carries in his four seasons at Oklahoma State. Cornelius showed more ability with his legs, rushing for 466 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2018, something that could help Yurchich adapt more to Fields’ style next season.

But Yurcich won’t be making any assumptions until he sees more of his new quarterback.

“It’s a process, and [our relationship is] nowhere near where it needs to be, obviously. It takes time. It takes time, and it takes an investment on both ends and an openness and just trying to create a dialogue,” Yurcich said. “The film that I’ve looked at, I think he’s very dynamic.”

Yurcich now has an offseason to build the relationship with his quarterback, and do it at a place that’s about two hours from where he grew up.

But the most important thing for him moving forward follows along with a quote from Michigan’s most successful football alum.

“One of the best quotes was by Tom Brady recently: ‘The most important stat is wins, and everything else really doesn’t matter,’” Yurcich said. “I just wanted to be part of something great, and coming to Ohio State is kind of a no-brainer for me, and I’m very humbled to be in this situation.

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