Observations: What we learned from Auburn's first day of 2022 spring practices
After an eventful few months, Bryan Harsin and his team got back on the practice field Monday — and things felt much more normal than usual.
HC Bryan Harsin (Todd Van Emst/Auburn Athletics)
Bryan Harsin says he doesn’t really “see the value of looking back in the rearview mirror.”
“I'm a guy that wants to move forward, that wants to get better, that wants to keep moving,” Harsin said. “That’s how I operate.”
That Harsin quote was in response to a question about if he was “bitter” about things that happened last month, when Auburn investigated concerns about his football program after just one season.
But it could apply to other past issues that go beyond what happened in February.
Unlike his first year, Harsin oversaw a start of spring practice that didn’t involve masks or social distancing. Meetings were like they used to be. Offseason conditioning and team-building activities felt like the pre-COVID era, too.
“It finally felt like today, out there with our guys and just the meetings that we've been having, we're actually into spring football again,” Harsin said Monday. “Feels like it did a few years ago, alright? Just normal. Come in here, have a team meeting, go out there and practice, get after it, have a good first day — plenty of stuff to work on — come do media, do it live and just get back into that routine.”
There are plenty of lessons that Harsin learned from his first season on the Plains (“yeah, finish strong”) and the job security saga (“as much as there were some negative things, there were more positives”) that he will carry into a critical 2022.
But Monday afternoon on the practice field felt like a much-needed fresh start for Harsin and his team. He has quite a few new faces in key places, both on the roster and on the coaching staff. And Monday was a big step in the hard work that will need to be done over the next several months in order for Auburn football to get closer to where it wants to be after a frustrating 2021.
“What I saw today, it's not just your typical spring practice and all that,” Harsin said. “Guys were out there working. Plenty to clean up, plenty to get better at and all that. But as far as the vibe goes and the energy of the team, that was brought by the team, that was brought by the players. I think there's a reason why those guys did come back, there's a reason why guys we signed that are going to be part of this program — several of them are there right now. And the guys that are coming in this summer, when we get them here, they're going to add value to what we're doing.
“To me, it's hey, take what you learned last year. You've got to finish, you've got to prepare every single week. I think a lot of guys see that and are excited about where this program's headed.”
Before Harsin’s press conference, media members got an opportunity to watch around a half hour of drills. Here are the top observations from what we learned Monday at the Auburn Athletics Complex.
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