On Thursday, head coach Bryan Harsin announced the final member of his on-field coaching staff with the hiring of Bert Watts.
Harsin and his 10 position coaches bring a combined 168 years of on-field coaching experience, 91 bowl game appearances and 34 conference championships to the Plains.
Here's what Harsin had to say about each member of his staff:
“I always admired what he had done at Georgia and the things that he had done with his quarterbacks and how he had developed those players. When I was at Texas, he was at Georgia. We had a chance to get together, build that relationship, and here we are today. I think the philosophies that he and I both have at the quarterback position, as far as the offensive philosophies, those mesh. What we’re trying to do now to blend those ideas and bring this offense to Auburn that we want to create.”
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“Did a tremendous job, we had a chance to talk football and talk about Auburn. But also just his development as a coach, where he wants to go, where he sees himself and then also fitting into this style of offense. Coaching that running back position, which is huge, with our success that we want to have moving forward. In front of the team, talking with the guys, the energy, the reception that he got. He’s the guy that everyone knows played here, sacrificed, giving up many things to be a part of the success of this program.
"To be back here, getting him back to this program and that position. I think right now just being around him, just excited to be a part of something new. He’s been very receptive, done a great job with the connection with our players. Just been a joy to work with him so far and looking forward to watching him develop with this staff.”
“Huge area for us, getting those guys up front developed. I’ve always enjoyed the work he’s done with his players and the way that he’s putting the outside looking in. Has been able to help those guys establish an identity on the offensive side, especially with the offensive line, admiring that, getting around him. Good guy to work with, good person, brings a lot of value there.”
“Got a chance to be around him, a good young coach that’s been at Troy. Been here in Alabama, understands Auburn and what that stands for and what that means. It’s important to him. Just the energy and excitement, the opportunity to be here. For many of us, this is a dream opportunity to be at a program like this and no one exudes that more than him. He’s jumped in both feet, been great in the meetings, been great around the players. Very good at recruiting, very good at connecting, so I’m excited to watch him develop those wide receivers and work with that group.”
“He was the offensive line coach at Boise State, understands the run game, understands the fronts, understands all those things that we need to be great at, at that tight end position. Played at the next level for seven years. Knows the physicality, knows the attitude, mindset and the things we want to bring to that tight end room so we can play physical. We can be weapons on the field and be able to do multiple things with that position. Certainly understands the system of the offense, very detailed in his recruiting. Great connector and is a guy that with the staff brings a lot of energy to what it is we’re doing every single day.”
“High energy, great coach, great personality, great connector. He and I go back to a few years ago on vacations, had a chance to spend a couple of vacations together, get to know each other, my wife and his wife. Really just sharing philosophies, so the connection began there.
"No one knows you’re going to be in a position like this to have a chance to work together. But certainly excited about what he brings, his leadership and as I’ve seen right now, just his work in progress with our defensive staff has just been tremendous.”
“One of the things about Zac, when I talked to Dana Holgorsen in Houston, had nothing but great things to say. I know Dana, I know how he develops his coaches and Zac did a tremendous job. Tremendous reputation, recruiter, I got to get to know him as a person. First-class in everything he’s done, that I’ve been a part of. Happens to be an Auburn alum, that was a bonus. Also understands what it takes to win championships, as he was a part of the 2010 national championship team. We know his story, we know the perseverance, toughness, grit that he showed through his time here.
"One thing, when we got a chance on Sunday to get around our players to do introductions. It was very apparent that when he got in front of the team and addressed them with a “War Eagle” and the “War Eagle” was addressed back, he was able to communicate to them not only his excitement to be back here at his alma mater, but also really what it means to be an Auburn Tiger. I don’t know every single word he said, I just know that for those three or four minutes that he spoke, the hair on the back of my neck stood up.
"He brought it for every guy in that room and everybody was on the edge of their seat. Everybody standing up was leaning forward, it was very clear when he left what it means to be an Auburn Tiger and how much passion he has for this program. So I can’t wait to get him out there and get around our guys more, get him on the field. Because he brings exactly what this Auburn family is all about to this program."
“Coach Schmedding was our defensive coordinator at Boise State. Coach Schmedding is one of the best coaches that I’ve seen and been around in my career. He brings a wealth of knowledge to the defensive side, he understands it back to front. He’s a guy that does a great job of connecting with players and we’ve been able to see that so far.
"I think that group of linebackers is going to be excited about what he brings to the table as far as just his detail, his technique, knowledge of the game, and certainly the experience he’s had playing for national championships at the FCS. Being a part of a very successful program at Boise, having the chance to come here and bring that experience to Auburn. He’s excited, I’m excited to see him around our guys. Every time I do, you can tell the connection and the relationships are building.”
“Really enjoyed our conversations, great player at Auburn, bleeds orange and blue. No question about it. He certainly is a guy that with his experience and knowledge and his approach, the way that he’s dealt with players, the way that he’s connected with players here without question, is a perfect fit for what we’re trying to accomplish at the defensive line position. His knowledge and his experience of the development of our defense is going to help us without question.”
“It goes back to our connection when he was at Fresno State and was a defensive coordinator. I admired his work, got a chance to compete against him, he did a tremendous job and his opportunity to move on to Memphis. That experience with some of the recruiting that he’s been able to do, I thought it would be a great fit. In the conversations that we had, there was no question about how he fits into this staff, to be a part of this program and his desire to be at Auburn.”
"Jeff brings a wealth of experience and knowledge in the strength program and development area. He’s designed and put together programs that I’ve been able to see in the past and actually have experienced myself as a player. I know what these guys are about to get ready for and the type of work they’re going to have to put in to be successful. A great developer, great with process, great with technique, certainly is the foundation of what we’re trying to build here at Auburn with our football program.”
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