Auburn football mailbag: A program sinking, a program rising, and a farewell

AUBURN — If you thought the last three games were harrowing for Auburn football, just wait.

Auburn (3-2, 1-1 SEC) has lost two of its last three games, with an overtime gift providing the lone win. Now the schedule intensifies, with road matchups at No. 2 Georgia and No. 9 Ole Miss before the idle week. Auburn's most urgent question is whether second-year coach Bryan Harsin will make it to the other side.

The questions in this week's mailbag require a PSA: Whatever happens with Harsin, the second-year beat writer will not make it to November. The LSU game was my last for the Montgomery Advertiser as I depart for a new adventure. It has been a pleasure to get to know the Auburn community. As a farewell, let's get to your questions.

Q: Brian Kelly had three (at least) Saban-like conniptions in which he absolutely berated the head official during timeouts last night. What about?

Kelly's biggest blow-up was late in the first half when LSU was unable to get off a quick play near the goal line because Auburn safety Donovan Kaufman went down with an apparent injury. Kelly's profanity-laced gestures for a flag were caught on camera. (Kaufman played 75 snaps, including a forced fumble in the fourth quarter.) I also found a moment in which he took exception to an illegal formation.

But most of Kelly's yelling was directed at his players. He put backup quarterback Garrett Nussmeier on blast at one point. He was also visibly frustrated after a Jayden Daniels throwaway.

Q: How long until (Auburn baseball coach) Butch Thompson wins a championship?

If Thompson can lead an Auburn baseball team picked to finish last place in the SEC West to the College World Series, imagine what he can do with his next recruiting class. It's ranked No. 6 in the country by Baseball America and No. 5 by Perfect Game.

Auburn signed four top-100 high school recruits, all of whom passed on the pros. Ike Irish, Hayden Murphy and Zach Crotchfelt were all top-200 MLB Draft prospects according to

Auburn has reached Omaha twice in four seasons. With the new talent crop, a return is feasible. So is a national title ceiling.

Q: Favorite single game, match or meet you covered in Auburn?

It's crazy how many cool moments I got to cover in 15 months. This job took me to national championship events in football, basketball and gymnastics. I got to shadow an Auburn star at the NBA Draft.

The craziest game I've ever covered in person, by far, was the four-overtime Iron Bowl. The most remarkable spectacle I got to watch up-close was Suni Lee scoring perfect 10s on Auburn's home floor like it was nothing. The Auburn-Florida meet stands out.

But my favorite was probably Auburn basketball's comeback win at Saint Louis, when I got to cover a game next to my dad.

HOT SEATThe Bryan Harsin way worked at Boise State, his quarterbacks attest. Is his time almost up at Auburn?

POSTGAME PRESSERBryan Harsin increasingly grilled on future with Auburn football: What happens after LSU loss?

Q: Favorite meal in Auburn?

Auburn Drafthouse quickly became my go-to spot downtown. The Hound is classic. I enjoy their brunch as much as their dinner. I'm a creature of habit, but I've tried seven or eight different menu items from Bombay Grill on Opelika Road. The Irritable Bao climbed my power rankings recently for its brussels alone. Drafthouse will probably be my first stop whenever I visit, though.

Q: Favorite Auburn story you wrote?

The most fun I had with a story was definitely my attempt to score over shot-blocker Walker Kessler. The story that seemed to amuse fans the most involved quarterback T.J. Finley's past life as a baby pageant national champion. Profiling Suni Lee, Jabari Smith and Spirit the eagle was a privilege. And I got to collaborate with my buddy Nick Kelly from the Tuscaloosa News about coaches experiencing their first Iron Bowl.

Q: What's the story they won't let you write?

I don't think I've encountered a story I wasn't allowed to write. But before I go, I'll share this: There is one more story they did let me write. You'll see it in a few weeks. It's a project I've been working on for a few months.

Thanks for reading, and thanks in advance for reading that one.

This article originally appeared on Montgomery Advertiser: Auburn football mailbag: A program sinking, a program rising, and a farewell