Yurcich, Defensive Ends Get Attention

Mike Yurcich

There were a few people missing late Saturday afternoon and evening during media day. First, head coach Mike Gundy and then a huge collection of Oklahoma State players made their way back over to Gallagher-Iba Arena to meet with the media following a break after their two hours of signing autographs and meeting their fans during Fan Appreciation Day.

It's a long day for the Cowboys with practice starting at 7:30 a.m. on the grass practice fields east of Gallagher-Iba Arena. This year, in order to allow the coaching staff to better get their practice video reviewed and their plans and scripts made for Sunday's first practice in shoulder pads and helmets, Gundy excused his coordinators and assistants from media day.

It was one of those coaches, first-year offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich, who had to have his ears burning.

Gundy was asked about him and answered those questions. The players also were asked what they thought of the new play caller from Division II Shippensburg University.

"I think Mike's doing very well. I'm comfortable with the way he has settled in," answered Gundy, comparing Yurcich in the spring to now.

"He is much different in practice now than what he was in the spring. I thought he approached it in the right manner by letting the other coaches coach because he was new to the system. I think he is much more comfortable with our offense now and I have seen him being much more aggressive this fall."

"I think the offense is flowing a lot smoother," added senior running back Jeremy Smith. "Coach Yurcich knows what to expect. He doesn't ask a lot, he just wants you to do your job. I like the approach he has."

Something that was apparent in the spring is becoming exaggerated now and that is that Yurcich can call plays fast and his offense can go very fast.

"I thought it was faster today in the first series of team period than it was even at any time last spring," said center Jake Jenkins. "I couldn't believe how quick we were going."

"I would like to say it's true," said guard Brandon Webb when asked if it is faster now than ever before. "We're going to move as fast as possible. They'll make us move as fast as possible. As a lineman, it isn't the most fun thing in the world, but it helps create an advantage. It can help tire the defense out, which really helps."

"He's great. He's keeping us moving fast and everything is going smoothly," said wide receiver Charlie Moore. "He came in here and just took over. He really responds well to the players, and we respond well to him. It's been a smooth transition for all of us."

When I saw Yurcich before media day he was moving fast, moving right by the media room in Gallagher-Iba Arena right out the door heading to the west end zone and on to the meeting room to watch video and finish scripts for Sunday's practice.

Head coach Mike Gundy was asked when the pads come on Sunday morning, at least the shoulder pads, which group did he want to go watch first.

"Defensive ends," Gundy answered. "I know we have players but I want to see who is going to compliment Tyler Johnson. We have some young players and I want to see how they develop."

There is another person looking forward to that. It was the first day in pads last season that defensive end Jimmy Bean tore his ACL in champions drill, the one-on-one drills linemen always do when the pads go on.

"I thought about it all summer, nervous about it," said Bean, the former Denton Guyer standout who has gone from 212 pounds to a rock solid 245 pounds while at OSU. "I'm going to go first and find the biggest guy to go against and just get it over with."

Bean is ready to get back in the saddle and for a defensive player that is getting after it in pads. The wake-up call will be early Sunday morning.

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