Auburn Tigers football coach Bryan Harsin 'not anti-vaccine' after testing positive for COVID-19

First-year Auburn football coach Bryan Harsin, who tested positive for COVID-19 last week and remains in isolation, told reporters on Wednesday that he's not against people getting vaccinated.

"Let me be clear," he said, "I am not anti-vaccine, and any narrative along those lines is misinformed."

Harsin, however, has declined to say whether or not he has been vaccinated.

He said on Wednesday that he's gone to great lengths to provide players and coaches with information on the virus and vaccines, bringing in experts to talk to the team. But he didn't say that he has actively encouraged players to take the vaccine.

"I fully support the choice for anyone to vaccinate and I also support getting reliable data-driven information into the hands of those who still have questions about the vaccine," he said. "Anyone who has been in our facility knows that."

Auburn is one of a handful of SEC teams that have not reached the 85% vaccination rate for avoiding regular COVID-19 testing.

Harsin said vaccines on the team have increased in recent days and that he's "optimistic we'll approach that."

Auburn defensive coordinator Derek Mason announced on Tuesday that he had experienced a breakthrough infection.

Harsin said there have been a few breakthrough cases but they were rare.

"We're in a good position right now," he said, while declining to put a precise number on the percentage of those currently vaccinated.

Harsin pointed out that unlike some other schools, Auburn does not have the ability to mandate vaccines because of state guidelines.

"We can't do that," he said. "So that's not a football coach's decision. All right, that's a state-by-state, university-by-university decision."

Harsin, who said he isn't experiencing any symptoms, expects to be able to return to the team on Monday once his 10-day mandatory quarantine is up.

When he does, it will be game week for Auburn as it prepares to open the season against Akron on Sept. 4.

While Harsin hasn't named a starting quarterback, he said that if the decision had to be made today, Bo Nix would remain the starter.

Nix, a junior, has been a starter for two seasons.

TJ Finley, who played at LSU last season, is also in the running to play.

Harsin said that Finley is "coming on" and pushing Nix for the starting job.