Will Bryan Harsin Make it to Year Three at Auburn?
What happens when you're a new head football coach, and you fire your offensive coordinator, and your defensive coordinator is leaving for another job after your first year? Let's also throw in you lose the last five games of the year, including your biggest rival. Auburn Coach Bryan Harsin is facing after a promising turned disappointing season at Auburn.
After the season, the former Boise State coach fired his offensive coordinator Mike Bobo. Bobo will make $2.6 million to do nothing next year, thanks to his dismal from Harsin. Defensive Coordinator Derek Mason is rumored to be up for a similar job in the Big 12. By the way, the Big 12 is not known for its defenses, so fans are wondering why Mason is leaving after one season on the Plains. The dismissal of both coaches, veterans of the SEC, will leave Harsin without the valued relationships that aid in recruiting five-star athletes.
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Harsin also lost starting quarterback, and Auburn legacy, Bo Knix, who believed he had a better opportunity transferring to Oregon than returning for another season with Harsin. Harsin has replaced one coach with a member of the Seattle Seahawks coaching staff and the other with a staff member who followed him from Boise State.
Blake Toppmeyer, USA Today/Yahoo Sports, wrote of the current state of the Auburn program under Harsin. 'It should concern Auburn that Mason would leave without a promotion in hand and that he could potentially make a lateral move. At best, Mason's departure is a stinging loss amid a critical reboot for Harsin. At worst, his exit points to instability within a program that suffered its first losing season since 2012.'
Auburn spent a lot of money to bring Harsin to the Plains. They paid $21.5 million to get rid of former coach Guz Malzahn. The hiring of Harsin was high-risk, high reward for both sides. Harsin's outsider status was hailed as a breakthrough moment for the program. However, the insiders who've lived and worked within the highly competitive SEC West usually determine the fate of SEC coaches. Recruiting is deemed perhaps more critical than coaching due to the talent level of LSU, Auburn, Alabama, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, and Arkansas.
Both Mason and Bobo provided Harisin with a way into that region's talent-laden high schools. How challenging is recruiting? Alabama Coach Nick Saban brought his offensive and defensive coordinators to see prized recruit Arch Manning play a high school basketball game.
Georgia coach Kirby Smart had gone to see Manning play a few days earlier. Harsin will have to compensate for the loss of those relationships provided by Bobo and Mason if he hopes to compete with his fellow coaches or keep his job.
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