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What we’ve learned about Harsin since the A-day


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What we’ve learned about Bryan Harsin since the A-day game

Published: May. 27, 2022, 9:21 a.m.

Coach Bryan Harsin get lemonaid on the course Wednesday. Regions Pro-Am Golf on Wednesday, May 11, 2022 in Birmingham, Ala. Todd Van Emst/AU Athletics Todd Van Emst/AU Athletics


Auburn head football coach Bryan Harsin gets back to the business of coaching football next week when the Tigers report for summer workouts. Harsin and his staff will get eight hours a week of instruction time with the athletes for the next eight weeks in preparation for the September 3 home-opener against Mercer at 6:00 CT on ESPN Plus and the SEC Network Plus app.


The former Boise State quarterback and head coach has endeavored on a barnstorming tour connecting with alumni and friends of the program since the A-Day game ended in early April at Jordan-Hare. Harsin started on April 23 by attending Heisman Trophy winner Bo Jackson’s ‘Bo Bikes Bama’ event, and less than 24 hours later, he drove the pace car at Talladega.


Harsin threw out the first pitch at a Tigers baseball game against Alabama a few weeks later. His coaching staff visited 683 high schools during the spring evaluation period. Head coaches can’t travel during spring evals, but assistant coaches can, and Harsin’s staff visited over 300 high school programs in Alabama even if the school didn’t have an Auburn recruit on the current roster.

Harsin attended at least 20 events starting with Jackson’s event and culminating on Thursday with the L’Arch Mobile football preview, where he was a keynote speaker.

“The nice thing about the end of April and May, this is a chance for our coaches to get out and recruit,” Harsin said before an Auburn alumni club meeting in Columbus, Ga. “This is the opportunity to get out and do a little bit different recruiting, you know, just seeing people, and really, covering the state is what we want to do, just like we did with the coaches last week, so, but it’s been good, you know, we’re still getting football done. And we’re still getting recruiting done.”


Several challenges loom around Harsin’s second season on the Plains. Last season ended with a historic losing streak on the field. Harsin and new offensive coordinator Eric Kiesau have to pick between Zac Calzada, TJ Finley, Robby Ashford, or freshman Holden Geriner as the starting quarterback to replace Bo Nix after Nix transferred to Oregon.


“From May through June, July, and into August, they have time to prepare to compete to be the guy. If they maximize that, we’ll see where they all are. We’ll be better for it,” Harsin told reporters. We’ll have somebody ready to play, competition will have pushed him, but he should be able to go out there and compete and help us win.”


Harsin showed a bit of tongue-in-cheek bit humor when giving an update on Texas A&M transfer Calzada. Auburn lost against the Aggies last season on the road in a game where Calzada suffered a shoulder injury. Calzada was a limited participant in spring football because he was recovering from the ailment. A twisted bit of irony that wasn’t lost on Harsin.


“Zac had a shoulder injury in the game we played,” Harsin said during an event in Columbus. “I’m like, Damn, you know what, if we hadn’t landed on his shoulder, he’d be getting all these reps. That’s the transfer portal for you right there. He’s eager to get reps this summer. We expect him to be full go.”


After the season ended, the Tigers parted ways with offensive coordinator Mike Bobo and defensive coordinator Derrick Mason. Nearly 20 players entered the transfer portal. To Auburn’s credit, there were players such as wide receiver Ja’Varrius Johnson, who returned after entering the portal. Harsin survived a university-led inquiry into the program from February 4 until February 10, when now-former president Jay Gogue announced that Harsin would remain as Tigers coach after one season.


Getting to the bottom of how the unrest started is becoming more complex. Board of Trustees member Jimmy Rane held a charity golf tournament last week that Harsin participated in, where Rane denied booster involvement in the university’s investigation.


“Trustees don’t hire and fire football coaches,” Rane said last Thursday, according to the Montgomery Advertiser. “We hire and fire presidents. So, I’m not aware of any role the trustees played in that at all. I think there were questions that the administration had, and (Gogue) is the kind of a president that wants facts. He’s going to do thorough investigations, which was a providence of the administration. Certainly not the trustees.”


Is Rane telling the truth? Who knows? But, for now, it doesn’t matter. Harsin has around 100 days before the Tigers begin a pivotal season. Auburn starts the season with five home games, including a rematch with Penn State, set for 2:30 CT on September 17 on CBS. Harsin is doing his best to rally the base at Auburn. Will it result in wins? We’ll see, but Harsin is feeling the support from Tiger lovers.


It’s been an exciting time to get out there and have a chance to meet people and see people and do the things we wanted to do last year, just different circumstances with COVID,” Harsin said. It’s been fantastic. Everybody that I’ve had a chance to be around has been amazing. I’m enjoying all the events. It’s been great to get an opportunity to hear their opinions on our program and talk to people about how excited they are about what’s happening at Auburn.”


Nubyjas Wilborn covers Auburn for Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter @nwilborn19

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He's learned a lot about the necessity of PR since his first off season. How much of that translates into wins is the big question.

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11 hours ago, Mikey said:

He's learned a lot about the necessity of PR since his first off season. How much of that translates into wins is the big question.

 He is what he is, and it won't help to raise expectations too high just because he was at Talledaga. I'd rather he spend his time learning how to coach in the SEC. 

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2 hours ago, Tigerbelle said:

 He is what he is, and it won't help to raise expectations too high just because he was at Talledaga. I'd rather he spend his time learning how to coach in the SEC. 


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How much y'all wanna bet TB hasn't watched the WR interview with Harsin

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