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Clifford reached out to Steelers QB Mason Rudolph about Mike Yurcich

If Mike Yurcich can get Sean Clifford or any other Penn State quarterback to do what Mason Rudolph did at Oklahoma State, then Penn State will have to rewrite its offensive record books.

Rudolph put up incredible numbers during his time at Oklahoma State, with Yurcich as his offensive coordinator. As a senior in 2017, Rudolph passed for 4,904 yards with 37 TDs. Those numbers would blow away the Penn State single-season records held by Trace McSorley of 3,614 yards and 29 TDs.

Rudolph is now with the Pittsburgh Steelers and competing for the backup QB job with former Ohio State standout Dwayne Haskins. Clifford mentioned Saturday during PSU media day that he recently reached out to Rudolph to talk about Yurcich and his offensive scheme.

The two spoke on the phone about a week and a half ago, with Clifford saying he knew a couple of people that helped him get in touch with Rudolph.

“I actually got to talk to Mason Rudolph about a week and a half ago, just kind of pick his brain,” Clifford said. “And he said the same type of thing (about Yurcich) — he’s gonna push you really hard, but at the same time it’s for the better and he’s gonna make you a better football player. I’ve seen it every single day that I come in to work with him, so it makes me excited to do it.”

Yurcich was asked a little later about his current quarterback talking to one of his former stars.

“I think you can learn a bunch of things,” Yurcich said of that kind of conversation. “One, in which ways (and) how did you prepare? And then I think you can maybe try to relate some situations that they’ve been through and tried to overcome some adversity at the same time.

“Anything from that, from more of a philosphical standpoint, to how are you throwing left on a rhythm 3 throw? It can be a multitude of topics and things discussed. You can always learn, and the best way to learn is to ask questions and listen.

“I’m glad that he reached out to Mason. Mason can tell him some valuable things. And I think any quarterback — especially a guy as humble as Mason — would probably learn something from Cliff, as well.”


Rudolph was drafted by the Steelers in the third round in 2018. Despite his great college success, he’s still trying to prove himself in the NFL. Rudolph played 10 games — starting eight — when Ben Roethlisberger was injured in 2019, passing for 1,765 yards with 13 TDs and nine interceptions while completing 62.2 percent of his passes.

Rudolph played five games — starting one — with two TDs, one interception and 324 yards last season.

Now, though, Rudolph is in a battle with Haskins for the Steelers backup job. Here’s what Yurcich had to say about Rudolph:

“I think it’s very difficult to judge anybody on a preseason game one. And also from what I saw in a very, very — I’m like as knowledgable as a general fan right now speaking about this — I just think that at times there’s certain circumstances where you’re deficient as a whole unit or team and sometimes the quarterback can be a microcosm of that by example.

“I don’t know their situation at all, but I expect him to play tremendous moving forward. He’s a tremendous quarterback that’s gonna work really hard. I think the world of the guy. I think he’s gonna be a great NFL quarterback at the end of the day.”

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Written By

Cory Giger is a 15-year veteran of the Penn State beat and a journalist with 28 years of experience. He has won more than 100 state and national journalism awards during his career, plus he's a voter for the Heisman Trophy in football and Wooden Award in basketball.

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