Auburn football OC Eric Kiesau has been on the Plains for the entirety of Bryan Harsin’s stint as Tigers head coach.
Initially hired as an analyst, Kiesau has been promoted twice–first from an offensive analyst to the WR coach following Cornelius Williams’ firing following Week 4 of the 2021 season, and later to the OC position this offseason–and has had a good grasp of who can cut it in Harsin’s system and who cannot.
His endorsement of a sophomore WR should excite Tiger fans iffy about the WR room outlook in 2022.
Tar’varish Dawson was given the complement of having improved the most of anyone Kiesau has seen from their initial Auburn football practice until now (transcript via AL.com):
"“Out of all the receivers, he’s probably made the biggest jump in improvement from when he first got here to now,” Kiesau said. “You know, he’s extremely talented; he’s just very, very raw. I think when he continues to learn the position and learn all the details of route-running and releases and things he’ll need to do, I think he’ll be really, really special. Is he there yet? No. Is he working toward it? Absolutely, and he’s definitely getting better…. I’m excited to grow him and see where he goes moving forward — because he could be a lot of fun to watch.”"
In particular, Malcolm Johnson Jr., Dawson, and Jay Fair were highlighted as WR room standouts early this spring.
Third-year WR Johnson Jr. was recently showered with praise from Bryan Harsin. The Tigers HC spotlighted him when asked who was standing out so far ahead of the 2022 schedule (transcript via Justin Hokanson):
"“I think Malcolm has. I like Malcolm,” Bryan Harsin says of Malcolm Johnson Jr. “I like where Malcolm is at.”"
Knowing Dawson is also taking steps forward should give fans hope that the coaching staff is building something sustainable in Auburn.
Internal improvement is a tangible way to prove that.