Penn State Football: deep dive inside the numbers on new OC Mike Yurcich

Sean Clifford #14 of the Penn State Nittany Lions (Photo by Corey Perrine/Getty Images)
Sean Clifford #14 of the Penn State Nittany Lions (Photo by Corey Perrine/Getty Images) /
3 of 3
Penn State Football
Texas Longhorns quarterback Sam Ehlinger (Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports) /

Texas – Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks Coach (2020) 

When Yurcich was named offensive coordinator of the Texas Longhorns, a lot of people connected to the program wondered how much of their game plan was to have Yurcich replace head coach Tom Herman.

The Longhorns averaged 41.3 points per game to go along with 475 yards per game under Yurcich’s tutelage, both good for second in the Big 12 to the Oklahoma Sooners.

Yurcich was gifted quarterback Sam Ehlinger last season, who was in his fourth season under center for Texas. Ehlinger is similar to Clifford, in that they are both six-foot-three and are limited with their ability to make all the throws.

A lot of Texas’ offense was predicated on getting the ball out of Ehlinger’s hand and to their playmakers. The Longhorns had four receivers catch 20 plus passes, as the ball was evenly distributed among wideouts.

Ehlinger did run for fewer than half of the yards he did in 2019, only 377, which is more of an indicator that Yurcich’s offense is about the quarterback making plays from the pocket with his arm than scrambling for yards with his legs.

Ehlinger did throw a touchdown on 8% of his passes under Yurcich, which is up from 7% in 2019 and way up from 5.8% in 2018.

Yurcich seems to have a knack for making quarterbacks more efficient and maximizing their abilities. For comparison, Clifford threw a touchdown pass on 6.3% of his passing attempts in 2020.

The five interceptions Ehlinger threw last season tied for the lowest in his career in a season, down five picks from the year before. If Yurcich can get a quarterback like Ehlinger to cut down on his turnovers and make the most of his passing abilities, their is no reason he can’t with Clifford.

Simplifying reads and spreading the defense out is key to making life easier on his quarterbacks.

Penn State Football certainly hopes that Yurcich helps its quarterbacks get back to doing exactly that in 2021.

Next. Could Penn State snag Yurcich's ideal QB from transfer portal?. dark