New Auburn Coach Bryan Harsin: Consistency and Success on the Field
The Auburn Tigers decided to part ways with Head Football Coach Gus Malzahn and will pay him $21 million to walk away and not coach Auburn in 2021. After the search committee interviewed/considered several candidates, the new Auburn coach will be Bryan Harsin, a model of consistency and success on the field during his tenure as the OC and later the head coach at his alma mater, Boise State.
Harsin, a former Boise State quarterback, was the offensive coordinator at Boise State from 2006-2010 under former Head Coach Chris Petersen. Harsin became the head coach at Arkansas State in 2013, ironically following Gus Malzahn who left to take the Auburn job. He led the Red Wolves to a 7-5 record.
Harsin took over as head coach for Boise State in 2014 when Petersen took the head coaching job at Washington.
In his seven years in Boise, Harsin led the Broncos to five appearances in the Mountain West Conference Championship Game and winning three conference titles.
His record at Boise State was 69-19 (.784 winning pct). Under Harsin, the Broncos won 10 or more games in 5 of his 7 seasons.
Boise State throws the ball around the yard. Harsin has coached some outstanding quarterbacks such as Kellen Moore (14,667 passing yards, 142 TDs, and 28 INTs) and Brett Rypien (13,578 passing yards, 90 TDs, and 29 INTs).
He is also known to have some trick plays in his playbook, and never was that more evident than in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl against the mighty Oklahoma Sooners. As the Offensive Coordinator for the Broncos, he called for a hook and ladder play and a Statue of Liberty play to upset the Sooners 43-42. The Broncos capped off an undefeated 13-0 season and finished ranked 5th in the final AP Poll.
Under Harsin’s leadership as the OC at Boise State from 2006 to 2010, the Broncos offense was ranked in the Top 5 in scoring offense 4 out 5 years, averaging 40 or more points per game.
As the head coach, the Broncos offense ranked in the Top 15 in Total Offense three times, ranked in the Top 20 in Passing Offense three times (in the Top Ten once), and ranked in the Top 10 in Scoring Offense twice.
Harsin’s recruiting classes didn’t exactly set the world on fire, as the class rankings below show (according to 247sports.com):
But Harsin was able to get these recruits to play above their skill level and overperform on the field. From 2014-2020, Boise State’s record is as follows:
Returning Roster at Auburn
As of this writing, the cupboard is not completely bare at Auburn. Barring any decision to enter the NFL Draft or enter the transfer portal, the following players should return for the 2021 season:
QB Bo Nix: 2123 yards, 11 TDs passing, 7 TDs rushing.
**RB Tank Bigsby: 834 yards, 5 TDs, averaged 6 yards/carry. Named to SEC All-Freshman Team.
WR Seth Williams: 42 catches, 688 yards, 4 TDs.
WR Anthony Schwartz: 54 catches, 636 yards, 3 TDs.
**DL Colby Wooden: 41 tackles, 9.5 TFLs, 4 sacks. Named to the SEC All-Freshman Team.
DB Roger McCreary: 3 INTs, 45 tackles
K Anders Carlson: 90% on FG, 95% on PATs.
LB Owen Zappoe: 82 tackles
LB Zakoby McClain: 102 tackles
DB Smoke Monday: 102 tackles
New Auburn Coach Bryan Harsin
The two biggest questions for Bryan Harsin going into 2021 are these:
- Can he recruit SEC-caliber talent?
- Can he beat Alabama?
Malzahn beat Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide 3 times during his tenure on The Plains.
Can Harsin go into the living rooms of 4 and 5-star players and convince them to come and play college football at Auburn? That remains to be seen.
Look for Bryan Harsin to draw a lot of interviews during 2021 SEC Media Days.
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