The Auburn football team opened up spring practice this week as the Tigers entered a new era under new head coach Bryan Harsin.
“Every coach and every player is as excited as can be to be able to get out here and get to playing football," said Harsin on Monday.
Up until now, players have been limited to just the workout room, but the workout period is a great chance for coaches to see who is driven to improve themselves.
“There were guys who improved and pushed themselves to develop,” said Harsin. “It wasn’t a handful of guys; it was team-driven. There's some new things that we did and so I thought the attitude of the team was good.”
While the coaches haven't been able to evaluate and implement the new offensive and defensive systems on the field, Harsin said that they have taken every chance possible to meet with players and teach them what the culture of Auburn football will be like.
“I think the coaches have done a good job of implementing the mentality of what we want to do each and every day,” he said.
Now that the players are taking the field this week, they have the opportunity to make a name for themselves and a first impression. With this new coaching staff, each player has a blank slate and will need to prove themselves during spring practice.
“Anytime you get a shot to do something for the first time you need to realize that you only get one shot to make a first impression and so hopefully they’ll come out with intensity and put their best foot forward,” said Harsin.
The Tigers practiced Monday and Wednesday, and will hit the field again on Friday and Saturday.
For Harsin, spring practice is a versatile and exciting time in the mind of a coach.
“There's a lot of things that spring allows me to do as a coach. Spring is our best time to implement, test, and tune,” he said.
Harsin boasted of the competitive spirit that he saw in the locker room, but also warned that it means nothing if that competition doesn’t carry over onto the field.
“We will see as we get into practice whether our guys continue to compete or whether they pull back,” he said.
Harsin also made note that he is looking forward to spring practice just to be able to get outside and play the sport again.
This week, Auburn University also released the details of Harsin's contact. Harsin and Auburn agreed to a six-year deal that will see him make $5 million the first year, with annual $100,000 increases in January.
The contract also includes a buyout that would pay Harsin 70 percent of his remaining contract if his is fired without cause.