Category Archives: Auburn’s Cast of Thousands

Twilight time

Looking at Pete Thamel’s coaches’ hot seat list, I can’t help but wonder between Bryan Harsin (“Auburn is last in the SEC recruiting rankings for 2023, and Harsin’s departure after this season looms as an inevitability unless there’s some significant on-field magic in the wake of a 6-7 debut season.”) and Geoff Collins (“Collins has losses to The Citadel, Temple and Northern Illinois, which meant his buzzy marketing hasn’t translated to the field.”), who’s the more likely to be Kirb’d this season?

My money’s on Coach 404.  Georgia is Auburn’s first road game of the season, so Harsin is likely to roll (stagger?) into Athens sporting a winning record.  Meanwhile, Geoff stands a likely chance of coming to town looking for, what, his third win of the season?  The only things that stand in Kirby’s way are (1) the possibility that Tech’s season goes so far off the tracks before season’s end that Collins is canned mid-way or (2) the school decides to throw away another recruiting class by waiting until January to fire him, in order to save another $3 million on his buyout.

Your thoughts?

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Filed under Auburn's Cast of Thousands, Georgia Football, Georgia Tech Football

Thuggery on the Plains

I didn’t know Jimmy Williamson was doing consulting work these days.

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Filed under Auburn's Cast of Thousands, Crime and Punishment

“Yeah, I was never a part of that.”

You have to dial this clip up to the 24-minute mark to believe it.

Bryan Harsin’s at SEC Media Days, giving an impassioned take on what he’s been through in the offseason and answering questions about how his team is getting ready for his second season as head coach.

So, naturally, up then pops Mike Griffith to discuss Kirby’s expressed desire to move the Cocktail Party out of Jacksonville by asking Harsin to reflect on the Iron Bowl moving out of Birmingham to Auburn.  In 1989.

Harsin was thirteen years old when that happened.

Sometimes, you’ve just got to respect the fixation.  (Okay, this isn’t one of those times, but still…)

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Filed under Auburn's Cast of Thousands, Media Punditry/Foibles

“Which one did you say?”

I’d love to think Stetson’s initial response there was shining on the questioner, because, if it were, it was so deadpan as to be perfect.  Eh, probably not.

That being said, his comment about Shirtless Bruce Pearl (ugh) was pretty funny.  I guess the players notice more than we think sometimes.

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Filed under Auburn's Cast of Thousands, Georgia Football

Hot, hot, hot (seats)

Dennis Dodd is back with his coaches hot seat ratings.

The Hot Seat has long been an accurate predictor in terms of job security. Over the last five years, 23 of the 35 coaches rated 4 or worse in the preseason eventually lost their jobs (66%).

Entering the 2022 season, there are only eight coaches on the proverbial hot seat (rated 4 or higher).

Only eight, eh?  Seems like a tight fit for both Coach 404 and Bryan Harsin, amirite?  Nah.

Each is impressive in his own way.  Harsin’s managed to get there in only his second season, while Collins has managed to trash his prospects at a place that really doesn’t have the money to get rid of him.  Salut, gentlemen!

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Filed under Auburn's Cast of Thousands, Georgia Tech Football

You broke it, you bought it. War Eagle!

Yeesh ($$).

Is Auburn as dead in recruiting as it appears? — Chris P. 

Auburn’s 2023 recruiting class added a commitment from four-star receiver Karmello English of Phenix City (Ala.) Central on July 4. English is the No. 144 overall player and the No. 24 receiver in the 2023 class. He’s the highest-rated player in Auburn’s class, which now has four commitments and ranks No. 70 nationally.

Auburn’s four commitments are all solid players. And given we’re still in July, there’s still theoretically some time to salvage this thing. It doesn’t seem like Auburn will, though. At least not right now.

If I’m an Auburn fan, I’m worried. Really worried. The Tigers just aren’t being seriously considered by many of the top players in the country. A quick scroll through 247Sports’ Auburn page, and you’ll see the Tigers don’t appear to be in the mix with many (or any) players in the top 100. And as a reporter who is tracking countless elite recruitments at once, I rarely, if ever, hear anything about Auburn. It’s just not a good place for the program to be in, especially when its rival is Alabama.

Who’da thunk there would be consequences to running a failed palace coup?  Couldn’t happen to a more deserving bunch of folks, if you ask me.

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Filed under Auburn's Cast of Thousands, Recruiting

TFW self-preservation is “what’s best for the SEC”

Folks are giving Bryan Harsin shit for this:

“He doesn’t appreciate history.”  “What do you expect from somebody from Idaho?”  Yada, yada, yada.

People, you’re missing the point.  He’s just following in the rich tradition of Auburn trying to make the schedule less of a struggle.  If you were him, why wouldn’t you want the SEC to move Alabama or Georgia (or both!) out of annual matchups?  Every year with one less game against either of those two is a year when he might actually win enough games to keep the Auburn faithful from running his ass out of town.

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“I think everything should be on the table.”

A head coach who barely survived a palace coup and an AD in the last year of his contract waiting to hear if his new president still wants him around are brainstorming about the big picture surrounding the SEC’s future?

Shit, Auburn, that’s adorable.

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Making lemonade on the Plains

Speaking of horses, these are so far out of the barn (see what I did there?), there’s no point in closing the doors.

The deadline for players to enter the transfer portal and still retain immediate eligibility for the upcoming season came and went Sunday with Auburn unscathed.

Following a pre-spring exodus of players — 16 of them departing the program between the end of the season and the start of spring practices — Auburn did not endure any additional roster attrition after the completion of post-spring player evaluations.

Well, isn’t that impressive.

That Auburn didn’t experience any additional departures is a win for Harsin, especially when you consider the Tigers lost eight players after spring practices a year ago and when you factor in the slew of pre-spring departures this year…

And how did that work out?

The lack of post-spring departures provides Harsin and his program with some stability and continuity heading into the summer. That, naturally, is welcomed after a disappointing Year 1 that ended with a five-game losing streak and the program’s first losing record since 2012. The disappointing finish seemingly snowballed through the winter, with the staff overhaul, various player departures and the internal investigation that served as a prelude to Harsin’s second spring.

“Auburn Football — At least we stopped the bleeding!”  There’s an inspiring motto to rally behind in 2022.

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That which does not kill them makes them Auburn.

Whistling past the proverbial graveyard, or nah ($$)?

Bryan Harsin and his program were well aware of the noise surrounding the program this offseason. At its peak, it was deafening.

But they believe it strengthened those who remained inside the building.

“From the outside looking in, you’d probably think the house was on fire,” said linebacker Owen Pappoe, a three-year starter who’s returning from an injury-plagued 2021 season. “But honestly, man, we’ve been fine. Just trying to control what we can control. Rumors are rumors. People will go online and say whatever, but all that matters is what we have going on inside.”

Defensive coordinator Derek Mason left for a pay cut to do the same job at Oklahoma State. Harsin fired offensive coordinator Mike Bobo after the season, and his replacement, Austin Davis, resigned after six weeks.

Around 20 players found their way into the transfer portal. Some former players criticized Harsin on social media just after the Tigers signed zero players on National Signing Day in February, with UCF-bound defensive tackle Lee Hunter saying Harsin treated players “like dogs” and NFL-bound defensive back Smoke Monday saying Harsin “don’t understand kids that come from nothing.”

Salacious rumors surfaced, and before spring began, Harsin’s job status was in doubt amid a university investigation.

Cool, cool.  If my Internet skills were better, I’d impose the Auburn Tiger logo over the dog in that “this is fine” gif and post it here.

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