Bryan Harsin will make a program successful. It may not be Auburn’s, that remains to be seen, but he will be a winner somewhere. It’s almost inevitable, given the fight, the determination and the drive he’s instilled in an outmanned Auburn team this season.

And while Auburn may or may not have found itself a coach on Saturday in a slugfest loss to No. 9 Ole Miss on the road, It may very well have gained a quarterback.

As the Tigers refuse to give up without a fight despite the losses piling up this season, the will to compete was personified best by quarterback Robby Ashford on Saturday.

The redshirt freshman struggled mightily in his first few series, which included an interception that led to an Ole Miss touchdown. He was overexcited for the big SEC start, hoping to bounce back after a dismal showing against then No. 2 Georgia.

Harsin saw this, it appeared, and understood that his starting QB needed to sit for a series and settle down. So, he yanked the young signal-caller, a move that might have worked the opposite way had he not been given an opportunity that afternoon to made amends. Confidence is often fragile in young players.

After one series with T.J. Finley under center, which resulted in another turnover, Harsin reinserted Ashford, a move that may end up proving to change the course of the program both for Ashford and for Harsin. That’s because Ashford looked like a seasoned veteran after that and Auburn fought valiantly to the end on Saturday.

Whether or not Ashford would have reentered if Finley had driven the Tigers down the field, only Harsin knows, but it’s clear that Ashford is QB1 moving forward, and his brief respite for that one series accomplished what Harsin had hoped. Ashford was a different quarterback after that.

He didn’t bring the Tigers a victory, but he did everything in his power to do so. He doesn’t play defense, but what he does is generate some much-needed offense.

Ashford spread the wealth in a passing game that didn’t break records but kept the chains moving and kept the Ole Miss defense somewhat off balance. He completed passes to 7 receivers, connecting for gains of 46, 32, 23 and 19 yards (all of those to different pass catchers).

For the game, Ashford completed 8 or 17 passes for 140 yards. He threw two interceptions, which must be addressed, but for the most part he moved the offense consistently. In many games 34 points would be enough to put a mark in the win column.

He also added 35 rushing yards, including a 22-yard scamper, and scored 2 running touchdowns.

Statistically, he wasn’t impressive. In leading the team up and down the field, that’s where he looked like he belonged.

Auburn’s unwavering fight and team effort is what made Harsin look like he belonged on the sidelines. His never-quit attitude is reflected in this team. That’s certainly not the issue.

Now, bringing talent to the Plains is what will make Auburn relevant again. Can Harsin do that? It remains to be seen. What also remains to be seen is if Harsin be given that opportunity.

It appears as though Auburn will make that decision after it brings in a new athletics director. That, too, remains to be seen.