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Mike Yurcich takes OC job at Penn State

Yurcich spent one season as the play caller with the Longhorns.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 12 UTEP at Texas Photo by John Rivera/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

After just one year with the Texas Longhorns, offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich took the same position with the Penn State Nittany Lions on Friday.

“First, I would like to thank Kirk for his contributions to our program last year,” said Penn State head coach James Franklin. “This was a difficult decision, but felt it was best for our program to make a change. We wish him and his family all the best in their future endeavors.

”We are excited to have Mike join our staff,” continued Franklin. “He is an impressive offensive mind and talented play caller who has set records everywhere he has been as an offensive coordinator. I look forward to seeing what he can do with all of the offensive weapons we have here at Penn State. I have followed Mike’s career for a long time, dating back to his time in the PSAC at Shippensburg and Edinboro. We look forward to bringing Mike and his family back to Pennsylvania.”

So it is a homecoming of sorts for Yurcich, an Ohio native who spent 11 years in Pennsylvania as a player and a coach.

Yurcich joined the Texas staff ahead of the 2020 season, with the hopes that he could jumpstart the offense following the firing of former offensive coordinator Tim Beck. Under Yurcich, the offense actually took a step forward statistically in the COVID-shortened season. The offense actually jumped a full touchdown in its per-game scoring from 35.2 points per game to 42.7 points per game, however, that number needs to be taken with a grain of salt.

This seasons featured two overtime contests — one against Texas Tech and one against Oklahoma — as well as a 69-point outing against a depleted Kansas State squad to close the regular season.

Perhaps the biggest knock on Yurcich was the poor performances in select games, including a 27-point outing against Baylor, a 17-point outing against West Virginia and a 20-point outing against Iowa State.

The story of Yurcich at Texas can is also told through the struggles of quarterback Sam Ehlinger, who many expected to make a jump with a renowned quarterbacks coach like Yurcich.

However, Ehlinger’s completion percentage, yards per attempt, and yards per game all took a step back under Yurcich’s guidance. The senior quarterback also struggled to consistently find his rhythm in the passing game and had two games with completion percentages lower than 50 percent.

With the hiring of Steve Sarkisian to take over, the long-time offensive coordinator will take over as the play caller and will likely bring his preferred quarterbacks coach with him to help run the room. Alabama offensive line coach Kyle Flood is the favorite to replace Yurcich and assume offensive coordinator duties with Arkansas State offensive coordinator AJ Milwee as the quarterbacks coach.