As scrutiny over the Auburn football program’s struggles continue to spark contentious debate, a prominent former Tigers head coach is sounding off on the situation.
It has been widely speculated that head coach Bryan Harsin could meet his fate before the season ends, depending upon how well his team performs in its upcoming matchups.
U.S. Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Auburn), who formerly held the position currently occupied by Harsin, is offering advice to the second-year head coach related to working through challenges.
In his public words of encouragement to Harsin, Tuberville said the coach should block out “noise from the outside.”
“I’ve had the opportunity to watch Auburn play a couple times. A lot of these problems have been amassing over the last few years from the previous coaching staff,” said Tuberville in a Wednesday press call. “He doesn’t have his players in there, yet. They haven’t played very well. They haven’t been consistent.
“But the advice that I’d give him is: You’re the coach at Auburn. Continue to make your football team better. Don’t worry about the noise from the outside — the social media. It’s going to be there no matter what you’re doing. You’ve just got to do the best you can. Be a leader on and off the field. And just do the best you can and continue to motivate these players, because players are what win or lose a game — it’s not the coaches.”
Auburn faithful and university leadership should remain supportive of Harsin and allow him “the opportunity to show what he can do,” according to Tuberville.
“It’s a hard job being a coach, especially in the SEC. So it’s tough right now but I think he can work his way through it,” he said. “You’ve got a game coming up this week in Missouri that I think could be very competitive. He just needs to be supported by the fans of Auburn and give him the opportunity to show what he can do. He’s only been at Auburn for less than a year and a half. So, hopefully, the team will improve and continue to compete, and win a lot of games.”
Tuberville went on to blast universities’ urgency in making head coaching changes mid-season, asserting that “one or two games doesn’t make a difference.”
“[W]e’re seeing several schools that have already released their coaches,” he said. “You can’t tell about a football season until the end. You never know what’s going to happen. As long as your players are working hard, motivated, playing together I think you should give the opportunity for the coach to show what they can do. One or two games doesn’t make a difference.”
“I can’t believe we’ve already had a couple coaches that have been released at some very powerful schools. But times have changed — social media, talk shows, opinions. These guys have contracts.”
Tuberville, whose 10-year stint at Auburn included an SEC championship and an undefeated season, said a head football coach should not get the axe until the season’s end.
“[I]t has nothing but a negative effect when you release coaches and make a change in leadership in the middle of a string,” said the senator. “I’m not anything for anyone losing their job before the season’s over with. Give them the opportunity. They’ve got a contract, let them finish it out. And at the end of the year, the people in charge need to make a decision.”
Dylan Smith is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @DylanSmithAL