David Yost is definitively "new school."
With the shaggy blond hair spilling over the side of his visor, and matching white wrist bands around either arm, MU's new offensive coordinator isn't stirring up any memories of former Kansas City Chiefs coach Hank Stram patrolling the sideline in a suit. Pacing back and forth during an 11-on-11 drill on Tuesday morning, headset on, a stack of play cards in hand, Yost embodies the eccentric creativity that has come to define the MU offense over the past several seasons.
After spending the past eight seasons as MU's quarterbacks coach, Yost added offensive coordinator to his list of duties this offseason after former coordinator, Dave Christensen, was hired as head coach at Wyoming. Yost is looking to continue pushing the limits of conventional offense in the same way that Christensen did, while maintaining his focus on the daily development of the team's quarterbacks.
So far, Yost's vocal cords have also been pushed to their limits. While previous years haven't required a lot of high-volume attention, overseeing the entire offensive practice has demanded more out of Yost's scope.
"I've lost my voice from two-a-days, talking about our tempo," Yost joked.
But strained voice and increased workload aren't nearly enough to dampen Yost's enthusiasm about the freedom and excitement of the new job. According to Yost, in the past weekly MU game-plans have always required a "What if?" Because defenses rarely face offenses like the one the Tigers run, there is often doubt about how they'll react. While Yost acknowledges that a changeover in personnel will inevitably make this year' s offensive approach slightly different, he says that innovation is still the constant theme.
"From being in empty, to taking big splits, to how deep the quarterback is, everything we do we want to be extreme with it. We want to push that edge and be as creative as we can."
"It helps keep it fun for the guys. When they come in for our Sunday meetings they're asking, 'Well what are we going to do to these guys?' They want to hear about the wrinkles and the different ways we're going to help them create big plays."
And that fun doesn't stop with the players.
"Game-planning on Monday is a lot of fun," Yost said. "That's probably one of the things I enjoy the most. Other than coaching the quarterbacks."
Other than coaching the quarterbacks. Because as much as Yost has enjoyed drawing up plays in the dirt, his passion for being a position coach is evident.
During individual drills the normally laid back coach looks restless. He constantly changes his position, observing every motion from every angle. He's at the front of every group as they jog from drill to drill, and during a drill involving the wide receivers he spends his time feigning press coverage and turning and running with each receiver after they catch a quick hitch.
"He's really upbeat," sophomore quarterback Blaine Gabbert said. "His coaching style really fits my personality. He knows that when I mess up he doesn't need to get on me because I'm going to beat myself up."
Gabbert says that, despite the juggling of two jobs on the offense this year, Yost has been as focused as ever on working with the young quarterbacks.
For Yost, that dedication to his players' development is a result of the value he places on the more familiar of his coaching duties.
"You try to build a relationship with those guys so they know how much you care about them," Yost said. "I tell them, we're working together. The better they play, the better coach I am."