Auburn is starting all over again. Gus Malzahn was fired after eight winning seasons. But the Tigers never did get over the hump of "good" to "great" and with just one Top-25 finish in the last three years felt it was time for a change.
Enter Bryan Harsin—a coach who equates player development and personal improvement with success. He comes from a Boise State program that enjoyed unprecedented success (five double-digit win seasons is an impressive note on his resume) but... the SEC is very different than the Mountain West Conference. And success might be hard to come by in Harsin's freshman season.
Here are three things you might not know about Auburn... and how the Hogs match up against Harsin's squad:
▶️ Question Marks At Quarterback: Bo Nix is being heralded as QB1 for the Tigers headed into the fall, but new head coach has stronger ties to transfer quarterback T.J. Finley than he does anyone else on the depth chart. Whoever wins the starting job in camp will likely be given a short leash until SEC play happens... and with Arkansas set to host the Tigers early in their conference schedule, they could take advantage of uncertainty at the most important position.
▶️ Wide Out Is Wide Open: The Tigers didn't have a very powerful aerial attack last season, but that could get even worse now that the three top receivers on last year's squad—Seth Williams, Anthony Schwartz and Eli Stove—are all gone. In fact, there isn't a single Auburn player on this roster who caught more than 10 passes or recorded 100 yards last season. The QB competition could be tougher than we thought.
▶️ Small Ball: Auburn's back seven are a decent unit, ranking fourth in the SEC and giving up just 242.6 passing yards to opponents per game last season. Their front four? Well... that's another story. They were below average in the SEC with 163.4 rushing yards allowed per game and ranked below the likes of Arkansas State, Rice, and UTEP. This looks like another matchup where Coach Sam Pittman & Co. would do well to run, run, run, and then run again.
SEC Media Days is scheduled to start on Monday, July 19th. Leading up to the event, we'll be breaking down all 12 of the team's opponents in 2021. Up on Monday? Arkansas-Pine Bluff!