Everything Bryan Harsin, players said after Auburn’s win over San Jose State

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Bryan Harsin knows Auburn did not play well Saturday and he did not shy away from that during his post-game press conference Saturday night. However, he was proud of how his team was able to regroup and do enough to pick up the 24-16 win over San Jose State.

“We didn’t play well like we wanted to in the first half, and then we found ways to get the job done in the second half,” he said after the narrow win. “So overall, I was proud of our guys from that standpoint.”

Overall it was a disappointing game from Auburn where both quarterbacks struggled at times. However, they did pick up the win and are now 2-0 on the season. Here is everything Harsin and several players said after the game.

Opening Statement

“I was proud of our team. I told them that in the locker room, just to finish and play well enough in the second half to win. We didn’t do that at times on last year’s team. So that was something that we emphasized from January, and we emphasized all the way through fall camp and still into this game. And that was something we talked about in the second half. We didn’t play well like we wanted to in the first half, and then we found ways to get the job done in the second half. So overall, I was proud of our guys from that standpoint.

“Plenty to clean up, we know that. And I think the glaring one was the penalties, number one, we had a lot of penalties tonight and the turnovers. Those two things really factored into the game, and we’ve got to get some on the defensive side to balance that out. But San Jose State, let’s start with them. I knew they would play hard. I know they’re a good football team, I know they’re well coached, and I think you can look around college football and the assumptions that the teams that may not be the top tier teams in everybody’s opinion, they play pretty damn good football. And San Jose State did that again tonight. I thought the crowd really played a factor in the game with some of the false starts they had, so it was good to feel it in the goal line stand that we had down there. That was really good by our crowd, to hear them and feel them in the game. You know, that’s what playing at Auburn should be like. It should be really, really challenging for the opposing teams and I thought we felt that tonight.

“We just didn’t get into a very good rhythm on the offensive side in the first half. I thought the second half we were able to run the ball more effectively, found a few schemes, coaches made some adjustments. And then defensively, we did enough. We pressured the quarterback, we got after him, we sacked him a few times. He’s a slippery guy, but he got out and made a few plays. On the back end, there were some penalties that I’ll go back and look at, but I thought we gave up a few throws that we could have challenged and had a better outcome on our end of things. And then special teams were not really a big factor necessarily tonight. You know, we had the field goal and all that, but I think there were some opportunities for us that we could have utilized special teams a little bit better. So, we’ll take this, and we’ll learn from it, and we’ll apply it going in next week.

“That’s the beauty of what we do, it doesn’t stop, so we’ve got to get better. And that starts with me. I’ve got to coach better, I’ve got to make sure these guys are better prepared, and our staff and everybody else. So, that’s the one thing I challenge our guys, look in the mirror. And that starts with me to make sure that we are we are more prepared and that we are going to play cleaner, that we’re going to play better fundamentally in certain situations and then make sure that we operate on all three phases better than we did tonight. But that has to do with our opponent too, so I’m not going to take anything away from San Jose State. And I am proud of our guys. I really am proud of those guys how they handled themselves and we’ve got to clean things up. I think they know that, and we’ll get back to work on that tomorrow.”

On second half momentum

“Yeah, we needed it. We didn’t really have any. You guys saw that too. We sputtered. The turnovers that we had. We kind of got it going. Robby (Ashford) got it going a little bit, and then we had the pick. TJ (Finley) had the pick. I thought the kid, he drew a little out route to the field there. That kid made a good play. That’s one of those plays that most guys don’t make. And he really did. I thought he was throwing on time and they brought some pressure. And so he had to get it out. It was a one-on-one man beater and the kid dove on it. So, those plays, it’s disappointing. But you also look at it and the kid dove and made a great catch. It was the right decision that TJ had with the ball. It was just slightly inside. It was inches. And that kid made it. The earlier one that we had, we didn’t make a play there. We just had a poor throw in that case. But in the second half, getting some momentum, running the ball, getting the ball into Tank’s hands, getting the run game going, and figuring out a few things, that got us in rhythm and coming out to score. That really helps the momentum which we really didn’t have from the offensive side. So that’s key for us to get.”

On T.J. Finley

“That’s important for all of us, for him to bounce back from that. But again, one of the things is, the interception, he was making the right decisions. He’s trying to make a play and the kid makes a great play. Now we got to get that ball. We got to get inches out there. That’s what we’ve got to do. That’s where we’re going. We’re going where those inches are. Where we can be a little bit better in those areas. But he came on the sideline, he knew it, I knew it. The guy made a good play, but let’s respond and get the defense out there and try to get the ball back. And now get back into what we have to do from this standpoint. To go execute the offense and operate. What I do appreciate about that is guys get into the tank too much. That’s one of the things that we’ve emphasized too. Body language gets guys in a tank. If it doesn’t go your way, you can’t just restart the game. You got to go out there and you got to compete. You got to play. Our team showed some resiliency in that situation, where he threw a pick and came back. He was able to throw the ball effectively and still be productive. He got some big plays. But you’ve got to do that. That’s part of being a good football team. Like we saw today, some teams don’t. You win some of these games and they aren’t always pretty, but you’ve got to go find a way to win and they did that. He found a way to overcome the turnover and go out there and be pretty good in the game.”

QB T.J. Finley

On the opening drive of the second half… 

“As a team, it says a lot about the character of our guys – the way we rallied together and came up with a second hand we were playing. We really had to just make some small adjustments. They came out with things we weren’t expecting. We have to go back in the front of the room and see what we did wrong. It’s minor adjustments.”

On the fourth-down play…

“I owe my teammates because I just missed the snap. The football Gods allowed me to pick the ball up. I knew it was fourth down, so I could just fall on it. We will go back into film and fix what we messed up. We’ll be ready for next week.”

On turning it around in the second half…

“Just the mojo as a team. Each game you’re not going to come out firing and clicking on all cylinders. But like I said, the character of this team. Nobody on the team let me put my head down. That’s what we’ve been talking about all fall camp, all spring and all summer. We are brothers and we really got each other’s back.”

LB Owen Pappoe

On San José’s performance …

“Hats off to them. They (San José State) came out and started off strong. We didn’t play well. We knew we weren’t playing our brand of football. Our biggest thing was just encouraging each other. We are not trying to get on each other. The offense didn’t play that well in the first half. We need to pick things up on defense and need to be able to make a few tweaks here and there.”

Comparing the Georgia State game to this game…

“We were in a very similar situation. We were saying that all week, ‘we can’t come out flat.’ We did come out kind of flat, but we ended up picking it up. It’s kind of similar to how we did versus Georgia State. I am actually grateful for this win and hats off to the smaller schools. They all came out to play today and a lot of the underdogs won. It’s hard to get wins. We came up with a win today and that’s all that matters.”

DL Marcus Harris

On the first half…

“I made a lot of plays, and basically, just listened to what my teammates said to one another.”

On the upsets around college football…

“Moving a good defense is what you want to do, to be a successful team. When you’re down, everybody’s going to have to work and do their part.”

S Zion Puckett

On San José State QB Chevan Cordeiro. frustrating the defense…

“I think it was the guys having jitterbugs and being nervous, but once everyone locked in, it was pretty good.”

On the goalline stand…

“It was very big for us. Redzone defense is something we have been working on at practice, so it helped us a lot in the moment.”

 

WR Ja'Varrius Johnson

On changes after the first quarter…

“Just finding ways to get open in the coverage they (San José State) were in. At first, we couldn’t find the spots to attack them, but the offense figured it out.”

On Owen Pappoe’s message to the team at halftime…

“Basically, he spoke about the other teams that got upset today. We did not want that to be us, so we all went out there and played hard to make sure that it did not happen to us.”

 

OL Brandon Council

On halftime adjustments… 

“We had to figure out how we fit up on the linebackers and know where they (San José State) were running the blitz. We changed that, changed our options and just ran the ball on them.”

On message in the locker room at halftime…

“The message at halftime was, ‘they (San José State) are a good team and we will give them that.’ But, we are Auburn, and we are going to go out and do what we do best – punish them and impose our will.”

CB Keionte Scott

On adjusting before preseason…

“I did a lot of mental preparing. I overstressed how hard it was going to be on myself. I overstressed it so much, but it was a lot calmer than I expected.”

On the Penn State game next weekend…

“We’re going to celebrate this one tonight. Clean up the little mess ups we had and then move on to the next day and get ready to rock-and-roll.”

OL Austin Troxell

On the team’s performance…

“We were on the same page – playing fast and physical.”

On fourth-down conversions and touchdown drives …

“That’s huge for our offense and momentum.”

Story originally appeared on Auburn Wire