By: Thomas Frank Carr
Penn State athletics announced today that James Franklin has made the decision to move on from first-year offensive coordinator Kirk Ciarrocca and has hired former Texas offensive coordinator and quarterback coach Mike Yurchich.
Yurchich has spent 15 seasons as an offensive coordinator and has averaged nearly 6.5 yards per play as a coordinator, which ranks first since 2013, according to Penn State’s official press release. Yurchich also his more of a schematic fit for Franklin and his offensive philosophies. Last season, 21.4% of Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger’s passes were deep attempts according to PFF, which was 2nd in the Big 12. That is much more in line with Franklin’s desire to create a deep passing attack and explosive plays on offense. The issue was that Elingher only competed 29% of those passes, which was 9th among starting quarterbacks with at least 16 deep attempts (20 or more air yards).
Yurchich is also familiar with the Big 10, spending the 2019 season as the passing game coordinator for Ohio State.
Yurchich’s longest tenure and most accomplished stint as an offensive coordinator came from 2013-2018 as Oklahoma State’s offensive coordinator. During that time he helped guide future Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph to the 4th most passing yards in Big 12 history with 13,610 through four season (three as a starter). Rudolph finished his senior season with just over 4,900 passing yards and 37 touchdowns.
Franklin has been searching for the right leader of his offense for nearly his entire tenure at Penn State. Yurchich will be the fifth coordinator in the seven years that Franklin has been the head coach in Happy Valley.