AUBURN, Ala.—Will Friend has been named Auburn’s offensive line coach, head coach Bryan Harsin announced Thursday. Friend spent the previous three seasons as the offensive line coach at Tennessee and, prior to that, was the offensive coordinator and offensive line coach at Colorado State.
“I’m happy to welcome Coach Friend to our staff here at Auburn,” Harsin said. “We both strongly believe that winning the line of scrimmage is one of the most important parts of a successful football team. His offensive lines have a history of being physically and mentally tough. We’re excited to have Will join the Auburn family.”
While at Tennessee, the Philadelphia, Miss. native mentored two-time All-SEC first team lineman Trey Smith. In 2019, UT offensive linemen Wanya Morris and Darnell Wright were both selected to the Freshman All-SEC squad, while Morris was tabbed a Freshman All-American.
Friend came to Tennessee after a three-year stint (2015-17) as the offensive coordinator and offensive line coach at Colorado State. In 2017, he led an offense that ranked 11th in the nation in total offense at 492.5 yards per game. Colorado State’s 33.4 points per game in 2017 led the conference and ranked 31st in the nation.
“I want to thank Coach Harsin for the opportunity to join his staff at Auburn,” Friend said. “I’ve coached against Coach Harsin and have always had so much respect for him and the culture he created within his program. Auburn is a special place and I have great regard for the Auburn football program, the university, and the incredible passion of the Auburn family. I’m excited to join something special at Auburn with Coach Harsin and the staff.”
Prior to Colorado State, Friend served as the offensive line coach at Georgia in 2011 before adding the title of running game coordinator in 2013. During his final season in Athens in 2014, Friend helped guide a Bulldogs’ offense that averaged 41.3 points per game, which ranked eighth nationally, and racked up 457.8 yards of total offense per game.
A four-year starting guard at Alabama, a two-time All-SEC selection, and a member of Alabama’s Team of the Decade for the 1990s, Friend began his coaching career at West Alabama in 2001. He was an offensive assistant at Tuscaloosa Central High School in 2002 before joining the Georgia staff as a graduate assistant (2003-04).
He spent the 2005-06 seasons as the offensive line coach at Gardner-Webb, then had a four-year stint (2007-10) as the offensive line coach at UAB. Overall, Friend has coached nine offensive linemen who have been selected in the NFL Draft.
Friend was a Parade Magazine All-America selection as a senior at Neshoba Central High in Philadelphia, Miss. He earned his bachelor’s degree in human performance from Alabama in 1998.
A 1998 graduate from the University of Alabama, Friend and his wife, Carrie, have three children – Katie, Brooks and Charlie.