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Bryan Harsin Closing In On Coordinator Hires

Two key pieces of Harsin’s staff look likely to be in place by the end of the day.

NCAA Football: Citrus Bowl-Auburn vs Northwestern Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

After days of radio silence surrounding Bryan Harsin’s staff, things got loud last night and early this morning. It appears Auburn’s new head coach is set to hire Mike Bobo as his offensive coordinator and Derek Mason as defensive coordinator.

Derek Mason was one of the hottest defensive coordinator names on the market this off-season. The former Vanderbilt head coach is a well respected defensive mind with the potential to be an outstanding recruiter. As Stanford’s defensive coordinator in 2012 and 2013 he fielded top 10 defenses per SP+. Early in his tenure in Nashville he continued to find success on the defensive side of the ball including the #16 ranked defense in 2015 before the bottom fell out. He inherits a young but talented unit heading into 2021.

I imagine the offensive coordinator news will be met with a much different reaction than the Mason hiring. Mike Bobo was Georgia’s long time offensive coordinator at Georgia before taking the head coaching gig at Colorado State. It didn’t go great in Fort Collins and Bobo returned in the SEC in 2020 as Will Muschamp’s offensive coordinator at South Carolina. New Gamecock head coach Shane Beamer retained Bobo for 2021 before Harsin came calling.

Bobo is a well respected offensive mind in the coaching community and an elite recruiter especially in the state of Georgia. However, it’s been three years since he’s fielded a prolific offense and there are understandable concerns about his offensives scheme not necessarily being up to par with the explosive offenses you will see in Tuscaloosa, Columbus and Norman.

Harsin is also expected to hire away Bobo’s long time friend and two week South Carolina OL coach in Will Friend. Friend is an elite recruiter who served as OL coach for Bobo at Georgia and most recently Tennessee under Jeremy Pruitt. There are mixed opinions on his ability to get the most out of the talent but at minimum I do expect the talent in Auburn’s offensive line room to greatly improve.

It’s been previously reported that former Boise State assistants Brad Bedell and Spencer Danielson are expected to follow Harsin to the Plains. Bedell was Boise State’s offensive line coach but will likely move to tight end with news of Friend’s hire. Danielson only has three years of on the field coaching experience but made a major impact on Boise State’s defense in that short period of time greatly improving the Broncos pass rush. He was co-defensive coordinator last fall but is expected to serve as either defensive line or outside linebackers coach for the Tigers.

As for the rest of the staff, keep an eye on Oregon WR coach and passing game coordinator Bryan McClendon along with former South Carolina defensive coordinator Travaris Robinson. McClendon has worked previously with Bobo and could be lured back to the southeast while Robinson is looking for a new gig and is rumored to be in talks with Auburn.

Per Auburn Undercover’s Phillip Marshall, Larry Porter is the only current Auburn assistant to have interviewed and has a very good chance of being retained as running backs coach and special teams coordinator. I think both Travis Williams and Al Pogue will have an opportunity as well. Marshall has also reported that Auburn has interest in Missouri DL coach Brick Haley.

12:13 PM Update

It appears there will be another former Boise staffer heading to the Plains. Per ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg, Harsin’s DC of last season Jeff Schmedding is headed to Auburn to share the DC title with Derek Mason.

Schmedding has mostly worked as a linebackers coach and with Spencer Danielson expected to come with Harsin as well might that mean no spot for Travis Williams? We will see see but a very interesting development.

2:15 PM Update

3:36 PM Update

Looks like one Boise State transfer has decided to back out. I am little bummed by this as I think Danielson has tremendous upside. Wonder if the new Boise State head coach is promising him the head gig?

5:55 PM Update

You can stop stressing. Derek Mason is officially an Auburn Tiger.

So as of right now, Auburn’s coaching staff could look as such this fall:

  • Head Coach - Bryan Harsin
  • Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks - Mike Bobo
  • Running Back - Larry Porter (ST) or Des Kitchings
  • Wide Receivers - Bryan McClendon or Des Kitchings or Darrell Wyatt
  • Offensive Line - Will Friend
  • Tight Ends - Brad Bedell or Larry Porter (ST)
  • Co-Defensive Coordinator/DBs? - Derek Mason
  • Co-Defensive Coordinator/OLBs? - Jeff Schmedding
  • Defensive Line - Brick Haley
  • Linebackers - Travis Williams
  • Defensive Backs - Travaris Robinson or Al Pogue or Marc Mattioli

We will update as more news becomes available and when hires are made official.

War Eagle!