The Bryan Harsin era at Auburn University comes with an immense amount of hope but with that hope comes a ton of uncertainty. After what felt like the longest 8 seasons, ranging from constant disappointment to settling for mediocrity and an occasional Iron Bowl win for the Tigers (and that extension Alabama fans enjoyed) during former head coach Gus Malzahn’s reign at Auburn, the Harsin hire is the light at the end of the tunnel for the Auburn faithful. 

The Tigers started this season with a 50-point win against Akron and a 62-0 win over Alabama State. The discussion doesn’t come from who they played, as both of these teams were easy marks in the win column for Auburn, but the conversation comes from the ‘how’. This Auburn team is essentially the same team from last year except for a few transfers here and there and two of Auburn’s leaders entering the draft. Wide receivers Seth Williams and arguably (but not actually arguably) the fastest player in college football Anthony Shwartz were drafted in the 2020 NFL draft leaving holes in Auburn’s offense.

New Bo, who dis?

The real discussion here is the development of Junior quarterback Bo Nix. Last year Nix finished the season with a 59.9% completion rate with 12 touchdowns and 7 interceptions. Nix is throwing 50-76 so far in the 2021 season, already sitting on 5 touchdowns and zero interceptions. Although these numbers may not seem like much to some, those who watch Auburn football see the difference in Nix’s performance. Nix scrambles. He throws successfully into coverage. He has a new sense of game control. The panic that once stressed an entire fan base is now somehow becoming a distant memory. Nix looks like an entirely different athlete.

The 4th & Goal

Although Nix’s progress is being temporarily shadowed by a controversial 4th down play call in Saturday’s loss to Penn State that crushed Auburn’s hopes of a victory on the road in a “White Out”, Nix stands firm behind his coaches and the decisions made. Check out what Nix had to say about the play and what the Tigers’ can learn from the loss on The JBoy Show below:

The Auburn team as a whole, with their newfound mental toughness as well as their physical, look like a brand new football team. Not to mention,

“We didn’t have any players of the game. We don’t do that in a loss.”

—Auburn Head Coach Bryan Harsin

To add to the argument of whether letting Malzahn go was a good idea or not, his first loss on his new stomping grounds at UCF ended in the most Malzahn way possible— a game-winning pick-six for Louisville. Cringy.

Harsin is breeding toughness at Auburn. Something we haven’t seen from an Auburn football team since possibly the 2013 season. Although the Tigers couldn’t hold on to Number 22 Penn State Saturday, I wouldn’t count the Tigers out just yet. It’s a new day. Auburn takes on Georgia State September 25th, but their test will come when they meet their SEC rival, the Number 2 Georgia Bulldogs at home on October 9th. We’ll see for sure what the Tigers are made of.

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About Author

Britney Bailey

UA Alum. I cover all things Alabama by default. I cover all things Auburn by habit. Writer of all things Alabama Steel. Traumatized and still somehow hopeful Saints fan.

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