Mike Yurcich is in place at Texas, with two things he’s never had before ever since Mike Gundy plucked him out of Division II obscurity back in 2013: a big contract and autonomy over his side of the ball.
Yurcich spent six seasons as Oklahoma State’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, but we’ve got enough data in his now 15 seasons running the program that there’s definitely a push-pull dynamic between Gundy and his offensive coordinator for control and direction of the offense.
He left Oklahoma State last year for Ohio State, where he worked as passing game coordinator and quarterbacks coach. He definitely had some say in the Buckeyes’ offense, but he was undoubtedly outranked in Columbus by head coach Ryan Day and offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson.
But that’s all in the past now. Yurcich nearly doubled his salary to $1.7 million in coming to Texas, and he’s now UT’s offensive coordinator, full stop.
Tom Herman employed Tim Beck in that role for his first three seasons at Texas, but Herman wrested play-calling away from Beck early in his tenure and never gave it back.
However, Herman was clear from the moment Texas’ disappointing regular season ended that his new offensive coordinator would have play-calling duties attached.
Here he was in December:
As Herman sets out to find the program’s next offensive coordinator after stripping Beck of the title two days after Texas (7-5) beat Texas Tech to conclude the regular season, he was asked Thursday in San Antonio prior to a charity golf event in conjunction with the Longhorns taking on No. 11 Utah (11-2) in the Alamo Bowl on New Year’s Eve if he’d like the new offensive coordinator to be the primary play-caller and the main voice on that side of the ball.
“I do, yes,” Herman said.
A point-blank question posed to the head coach was met with a point-blank response, one that should remove the lion’s share of the doubt as to how much autonomy will be enjoyed by Beck’s replacement. Herman’s stance is born from things on offense getting to the point where he felt he was spending more time than he should on that side of the ball in a given week leading into a game.
And later in December, after Yurcich was hired:
Herman said earlier this month he wanted to turn play-calling duties over to someone else and go back to being a CEO-type of head coach. Herman has been calling plays since the start of the 2018 season when he took those duties away from Tim Beck.
“I mean, I couldn’t have dreamed of a better fit in terms of similarities, the way we believe in offensive football,” Herman said of Yurcich.
All of that is music to Yurcich’s ears and… uh, we’ll let Mike take it from here.
“That’s a big reason why (I came to Texas),” Yurcich said Tuesday. “(Play-calling) is a heck of a responsibility, but that’s something that, you know, it gets me off. You know what I mean?”
Right on, brother.