Auburn fans have been restless about their coaching situation all offseason. It looked like the school might move on from Bryan Harsin, but it elected to keep him for at least one more season.
We’ve detailed his struggles, including a particularly difficult week in February, but Harsin remains committed to the school and his players.
Arguably the school’s most famous alumnus – definitely the most outspoken – also remains committed to the head coach. That would be Sir Charles Barkley.
Barkley joined “The Next Round” and discussed the head coach and the future of the school’s football program.
“I’m a Bryan Harsin fan, and this is to all the Auburn people: Leave that man alone and let him do his freaking job,” Barkley said. “He’s only been there a year. Just leave the man alone and let him do his job.”
Barkley wasn’t done; he put out a warning for the critics: “the people who keep bothering this man, I wish somebody would just slap the hell out of them.”
Barkley continued to say that he likes where all of the school’s athletics are heading, and fans need to let the men in charge do the work they are paid handsomely to do.
“If they let [AD] Allen [Greene], Bruce [Pearl] and Bryan Harsin do their job, I feel really good about Auburn going forward,” he said.
Outkick’s Chad Withrow recently posted his SEC “juice” rankings and wasn’t nearly as optimistic as Barkley.
“Auburn may be the only team to receive a negative number on the juice meter but I’m being generous and giving them a 2,” Withrow wrote. “When your program is dealing with a failed coup to take down your head coach after only one season, you can see how it’s difficult to gain much momentum.”
It’s tough for Tiger fans to look over at their biggest rival, Alabama, and see Nick Saban dominate year-in-and-year-out. Auburn has had spike seasons – including winning the National Championship in 2010 and appearing in another in 2013 – but haven’t had the sustained success that fans demand.
Auburn opens up with Mercer on September 3rd and their first big test comes in a week-three matchup against Penn State on September 17. They also get LSU and Georgia in back-to-back weeks to begin October, so it will be a tough road for Harsin in Year 2.
But we will know a lot about this team after the first half of the season.