Category Archives: Auburn’s Cast of Thousands

“Bryan Harsin is a thief from Idaho.”

Honestly, I don’t know if this is snark or straight…

Everyone loves a good black-hat villain in the SEC, and Harsin is wearing it today. On Thursday, Auburn’s football coach did something many longtime fans of the league would have once considered unthinkable. Harsin straight up stole a former five-star recruit off the roster of the rival Georgia Bulldogs.

Harsin walked into the Bulldogs’ receiver room this week, and left with a former freshman All-American. Demetris Robertson wore black and red in the Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry last season, but this fall he’ll be dressed out in burnt orange and navy blue. He’s the third transfer this offseason to go from an SEC school to Auburn, but the others were from Vanderbilt and LSU.

… because if it’s the latter, the entire piece is likely to be the dumbest thing I read all year, and, yes, I know we’re only in early July.

If you don’t think that qualifies, try this on for size:

… Georgia recently added a former five-star receiver from LSU, Arik Gilbert of Marietta, Georgia. Was Robertson addition by subtraction for Georgia, or will losing him to Auburn come back to haunt Smart and his staff like quarterback Justin Fields?

Tell me that has to be sarcasm.  It has to be, right?

Auburn needed a veteran receiver for Nix going into fall camp, so Harsin looked around and took one from Georgia like he was pulling a gold chain right off Kirby Smart’s neck.

Robertson, while extremely gifted, apparently didn’t impress Smart enough in practice over the last three years to earn more chances on the field.

Okay, maybe not.

At one point, he refers to Harsin as “this Bandit from Boise”.  He better hope he’s not saying that in a few years about Harsin’s paycheck.

(h/t 81Dog)

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Filed under Auburn's Cast of Thousands, Georgia Football, Media Punditry/Foibles, Transfers Are For Coaches.

The Nix Mix

Demetris had better hope Mike Bobo is a miracle worker this season.

Yeah, that worked out well.

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Filed under Auburn's Cast of Thousands

“… the Boise blueprint melds perfectly with Auburn’s ideals.”

So, Bryan Harsin has a great run at Boise State and Brandon Marcello thinks that’s gonna translate beautifully to Auburn.

Bryan Harsin is never far from Boise. The Auburn coach is an ardent believer in carefully-crafted plans, hard work, accountability, and one-on-one instruction and mentorship wrapped in blanket of understanding and empathy.

He picked up those traits and molded his own coaching philosophy from his 25 years as a coach and player alongside Boise State greats Chris Petersen, Dan Hawkins, Dirk Koetter, Justin Wilcox, Andy Avalos and others. It’s a blue-collar approach with a personal touch. Petersen calls it his “Built for Life” philosophy. Others have adapted it, but it was mostly tweaked, perfected and handed down by four head coaches from the same coaching tree over the last three decades at Boise State, a program that evolved from college football’s Cinderella into a powerhouse in the 2000s and 2010s.

I hate to rain on anyone’s parade (although I’ll make an exception for Auburn), but has Marcello bothered to look at how Harsin’s predecessors at Boise fared when the moved on to big boy football?  I did and it’s not impressive.

  • Dirk Koetter:  26-10 at BSU; 40-34 overall/21-28 conference at Arizona State
  • Dan Hawkins:  53-11 at BSU; 19-39 overall/10-27 conference at Colorado
  • Chris Petersen:  92-12 at BSU; 55-26 overall/34-20 conference at Washington

Petersen, who I really respect as a head coach, did a decent job, but let’s face it, overall, the three of them didn’t exactly set the world on fire.  And all of that was in the relatively friendly confines of the Pac-12, which, while a step up from the Mountain West, ain’t exactly the SEC.

Like the Auburn Creed declares, it’s work — hard work — that remains a constant force in Harsin’s life.

On a late afternoon in May, Auburn’s athletics building is quiet but Harsin is busy studying in his office. His large desk is strewn with papers. A computer monitor with film of an Ole Miss game is frozen on the screen. Across the room is a board pinned with several pieces of important papers and pictures. One sheet on the board stands out: a recent interview with Petersen about his life as a coach and now a professor. The refreshingly honest and open interview about the challenges of being a leader is required reading for the staff at Auburn, which is composed of SEC veterans and a few assistants from Harsin’s time at Boise State.

This is the blueprint.

“We’re going to get families and players that are going to feel [Auburn],” Harsin said. “There will also be guys we bring into this program and people are going to go, ‘Where the hell this guy come from?’ This program, how we develop our players, this culture, and the people in the program are going to be what helps build the ability to sustain success.”

If Harsin thinks the key to success at his new gig is hard work, scouting and player development, I’ve got some bad news for him.  Pretty much every SEC coach believes in the same formula.  Welcome to the party, pal.

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Filed under Auburn's Cast of Thousands

Promo on the Plains

Can you imagine how much NIL money all the Auburn preseason Heisman Trophy candidates could have made over the past decade?  Sadly, we’ll never know.

*************************************************************************

UPDATE:  (NSFW at the end)

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Filed under Auburn's Cast of Thousands, It's Just Bidness

Mark Richt hasn’t lost control over Mike Bobo.

Dude’s gonna run the damned ball, thank you very much.

Artifact. Dinosaur. Relic.

Those terms are a bit strong when describing Mike Bobo, but Auburn’s new offensive coordinator and the former Georgia quarterback does steadfastly savor the old-school elements in his play-calling responsibilities.

“Somebody told me once that you’ve got to let them know you’re at the ballpark,” Bobo said. “Sometimes there is not a better way to do that than to get under center and run power, and that’s what we want to be. We want to have a physical run game, and I think you can be a lot more physical sometimes when you’re under center.”

Of course, if you had Bo Nix and a receiving corps having to move on from the losses of Anthony Schwartz, Eli Stove and Seth Williams, you’d probably run the damned ball, too.  But maybe not with as much nostalgia.

Bobo was effective calling the two-minute offense in Athens with the likes of Matthew Stafford and Aaron Murray at quarterback, and his love of power football was understandable with a stretch of running backs that included Knowshon Moreno, Todd Gurley and Nick Chubb, who rushed for 1,547 yards as a freshman during Bobo’s final season in 2014.

Call it Manball on the Plains.  Gary Danielson’s probably gonna have an enormous woody the first time he calls an Auburn game this season.

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Filed under Auburn's Cast of Thousands, Strategery And Mechanics

Not the history you were expecting

Shot.

Chaser.

War Dawgs!

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Filed under Auburn's Cast of Thousands, Georgia Football

So much for the quarterback whisperer

I don’t know about you, but if this comes true, I’m gonna laugh my ass off at those Auburn fans who kept insisting Gus Malzahn was grooming the next Heisman Trophy winner every damned year:

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Filed under Auburn's Cast of Thousands

“Welcome to the SEC, Bryan Harsin.”

Don’t worry, Auburn fans.  In just a few, short months on the job, he’s already cracked the code ($$)!

… Everyone dresses the same in the weight room, Harsin says, not because he seeks uniformity but because he wants the players to make a conscious decision about coming together as a team. They wear the same uniforms for games; they should do the same as they prepare for games. “It really is defining everything,” Harsin said.

Who knew that’s all it takes?

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Filed under Auburn's Cast of Thousands

PAWWWLLL!!!, a master at work

There’s amateur trolling, and then there’s Finebaum, a pro’s pro.

“I don’t want to say anything blasphemous a week and a day after Easter Sunday, but Alabama-Auburn is no longer really the driving rivalry, I think, in the Southeastern Conference,” Finebaum said on the show. “Because everyone understands the reality of it. Nick Saban is going to win, maybe 92.3% of the games or whatever.”

If that’s your rivalry barometer, then Georgia-Florida stopped being a rivalry around 2000.  But I digress.

Finebaum added that his show provides him a good barometer of how heated a rivalry can currently be based on his callers’ reactions.

“I don’t want to speak for you because you live there and I don’t anymore but, on my program, which you know, is a more of an SEC-centric show — if I want to just drop some blood into the water and see sharks circling, it’s about Georgia or Florida. And it’s vicious,” Finebaum added.

“They love nothing more than to remind Georgia fans they haven’t won a national championship in 40 years. It doesn’t matter what Kirby Smart has done, so yeah, I think this is a continuum of the SEC’s current-day great rivalry. And it is vicious.”

If reminding Georgia fans they haven’t won a national championship in 40 years is his definition of a heated rivalry, then we’ve got a heated rivalry with just about every fan base in the SEC, plus Georgia Tech, because that tired line is trotted out by plenty of folks other than Gators on a daily basis.

But that’s not whom Finebaum is really targeting with that, anyway.

The ESPN host went a step further and got in a dig at Auburn’s place in the Iron Bowl rivalry and its former coach.

“Even the most ardent Auburn fan has almost just waved the white flag when it comes to (Nick) Saban now,” he concluded. “Yeah, you know (Gus) Malzahn won three times, which is extraordinary, still got him fired, didn’t he?”

Glad we could be of service, Paul.  By the way, if you’re looking for intense SEC rivalries, you might want to check out Ole Miss – Mississippi State.  Talk about vicious…

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Filed under Auburn's Cast of Thousands, Gators, Gators..., Georgia Football, PAWWWLLL!!!

The manball torch has been passed?

I hope that somebody loves you the way Mike Bobo loves him some fullback.

Shades of Smart-esque “impose your will”.

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Filed under Auburn's Cast of Thousands, Strategery And Mechanics