Bryan Harsin continued to look for answers, but was determined to move on after another disappointment for his program.
This one? A 21-17 loss to SEC West rival LSU in which Auburn slipped a 17-point lead in the first half. It was the kind of loss that has become commonplace for Auburn under Harsin, who is now 9-9 as the program’s head coach, including 3-2 overall and 1-1 in SEC play this season as the team closes the season opening home stand of five games.
Read more Maroon football: What Bryan Harsin said about Auburn’s 21-17 loss to LSU
Rewinding Auburn’s 21-17 loss to LSU
Immediate Analysis: Auburn beats a 17-point lead at home against LSU
Following his team’s latest setback, Harsin was asked if he is confident he will finish as Auburn head coach this season, as the schedule doesn’t end after the team completes its season-opening home score. Auburn travels to No. 1 Georgia next week and then to No. 14 Ole Miss (prepared to make the top-10 after beating Kentucky in Week 5) the following week.
“That’s my job, every day, to show up and make sure I’m prepared and that we prepare this football team,” Harsin said. “That won’t change, whatever, and I’ve told the team that. That’s always how I’ve approached every day of every job I’ve had. That will be no different. Tomorrow we have things we need to get better at, and win or lose, you will always find ways to improve as a football team; you should. That’s what it really comes down to. That’s how I will approach every day, and our players know that, and everyone on our staff knows that, and that’s always been the mentality we have.”
Auburn’s stagnation under Harsin — with double-digit leads in five straight SEC games and dismal second-half offensive efforts in eight straight games against Power 5 league — has increased the pressure on the embattled sophomore head coach, whose already hot seat is significantly warmer in the past three weeks.
Since starting last season 6-2, Auburn has gone 3-7 in the last 10 games under Harsin. That includes just 1-6 against Power 5 league, with the lone win last week in overtime against Missouri, which lost on an unforced fumble just wide of the goal line in overtime.
“The program is exactly where it is now,” Harsin said when asked to review the program during his first 18 games. “I mean, that’s really — you know, what’s happening, what’s happened in the past — I mean, we can focus on now. That’s what you should do. That is always our focus. We can’t go back and change. The records are what they are, but we can’t go back and change them now. What are we doing ahead, that’s what it comes down to. And that’s the message to our team and our staff, and that’s always win or lose, that’s got to be the focus, okay? Because you still have a lot of football to play. And for our boys, they signed up to go out and play all these games. We all did.
“And if you take everything you’ve done in the past, good or bad, and rely too much on that, it’s going to affect you in the future. So we just have to keep learning from this. What do we do now? What have we done well in this game, and what are the things we need to do better?”
Harsin has a contract until December 31, 2026, for a six-year deal worth an average of $5.25 million per year. If he is fired for no reason before the end of his contract, Harsin will owe 70 percent of the remaining value of the deal.
“It’s life; it’s the same: control what you can, right?” said Harsin. “That’s basically it. It’s the same message you tell your players, and the same things you’ve learned in your career as a player and coach and all the things you do, I think, just like a person in whatever profession you have; like, control what you can do, okay?”
Tom Green is an Auburn beat reporter for Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter @Tomas_Verde.
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