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May 16, 2013
Southern Mississippi got a good offensive mind when it hired away Todd Monken, forcing head coach Mike Gundy to hire a third offensive coordinator in four seasons. Gundy eventually landed Mike Yurcich from Division II Shippensburg (Pa.), who tutored quarterback Zach Zulli to the Harlon Hill Trophy in 2012.
Defensive coordinator Bill Young, meanwhile, was let go and replaced by the team's linebackers coach Glenn Spencer.
We caught up with OStateIllustrated.com's Jeff Johnson for the latest on the Pokes.
THE SPRING LEAD
The big story in Stillwater during the spring was Gundy breaking in two new coordinators. Fortunately for the Pokes, neither is expected to radically deviate from what their predecessors ran last season.
"Offensively, I don't think there's going to be any substantial changes," Johnson said. "Yurcich was brought in because he runs a similar, Air Raid style. I think there will be some tweaks that you'll ultimately see just like you saw Todd Monken do when he replaced Dana Holgorsen. But overall, not a huge change in the OSU offense."
The defense could look a little different, though.
"I think Glenn Spencer will run some of the same types of packages as Bill Young did," Johnson said. "But I think you'll see the Oklahoma State defense be quite a bit more aggressive with Spencer where with young it was very much bend, don't break."
While Yurcich certainly wasn't a household name before being hired at OSU, between Dana Holgorsen and Todd Monken, Gundy has established an impressive hiring record.
"You look at what he did at Shippensburg," Johnson said. "You can look at it all day long and say it's a totally different level. There's certainly going to be an adjustment period for the guy. But at the same time, when you boil it down,? football is football.
"You look at high school guys who have elevated from the college ranks. Gus Malzahn, for example. You look at guys who make the jump from high school football to high level Division I and it certainly can be done."
Rising sophomore quarterback Wes Lunt looked like he was in line for big things at OSU after last year. He started the team's first three games as a true freshman before a knee injury and a concussion sidelined him for a sizable chunk of the Pokes' remaining games. Those injuries allowed Walsh and Chelf to prove themselves as more than capable of handling the starting role.
Lunt has opted to transfer leaving the Cowboys with two quarterbacks still in contention for the starting job.
"You had three guys who not only started but started multiple games a piece," Johnson said. "Each one of them won a Big 12 game through the course of the season. So Oklahoma State had riches in terms of experienced Big 12 quarterbacks. They still do with Clint Chelf and J.W. Walsh, but you also had Wes Lunt in that mix and now you don't.
"There was really no indication at the end of last season or the end of spring football that any of the three guys were considering transferring as an option."
Surprise! It's the two new coordinators.
"It's the same thing that was the spring lead in the sense that the two new coordinators are heading into summer and there's only so much they can do," Johnson said. "There's no contact with players. It's more on the staff side and getting (the coaches) on the same page going into fall camp."
? Missed Significant Time: DT James Castleman (broken foot), WR Torrance Carr (three broken feet in two seasons).
? Position Switches: LB Shaun Lewis to SS, OT Parker Graham to LG.
? Schedule Note: Five of Oklahoma State's first eight games are away from Stillwater. ... The team opens up with two-straight games in Texas -- first at Houston's Reliant Stadium against Mississippi State and then at UTSA.?