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Early reviews are positive for Yurcich

Mike Yurcich

Early returns on the arrival of new Penn State offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich are quite positive.

“I love the energy he brings, and I can’t wait to go through a whole season with him,” standout receiver Jahan Dotson told the media via Zoom on Monday. “He’s a mastermind.”

Dotson, who led the Nittany Lions with 52 catches for 884 yards and eight touchdowns in 2020, said the main difference Yurcich has made involves “tempo” at practice.

Yurcich replaced Kirk Ciarrocca, who was let go after one season when the Lions finished 4-5 and started 0-5.

Returning starting quarterback Sean Clifford said Yurcich “brings the juice.”

The former Texas and Oklahoma State OC is “not a thermometer, he’s a thermostat,” Clifford said. “When he walks in, he changes the temperature of the room.”

The players have sensed a higher excitement level.

“He’s been really inspiring to this offense, giving us a lot of optimism,” Clifford said. “It’s made us all excited to be here, excited to really come into work every single day. And I think that’s what we need, honestly.”

Dotson said Clifford has raised his level of play that saw him benched in favor of Will Levis last year. Levis has since transferred to Kentucky.

“Sean has looked wonderful every practice,” Dotson said. “He has that chip on his shoulder.”

Dotson is expected to be a focal part of the offense, the anchor of a receiving corps that also features Parker Washington (36-489, six touchdowns) and several young targets.

Before he decided to return for his senior year, Dotson spent time in the offseason chatting with Lion receivers who are making their marks on Sundays — Allen Robinson, Chris Godwin and K.J. Hamler.

“Every year, my expectations for myself is to be better than last year,” he said. “I want to have a remarkable season that you guys (media and fans) never forget. Be legendary.”

Penn State will hold a Blue-White game, concluding spring drills, on Saturday, April 17.

Though Gov. Wolf is allowing 50 percent capacity for outdoor events, beginning Saturday (April 3), only first-year students will be granted admission.

Parking lots will remain closed, and tailgating will not be permitted.

A kickoff time and television plans have yet to be announced.

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