Maybe Brian Kelly should stop doing side interviews — at least this Labor Day weekend.
Kelly’s attempt at self-deprecation fell short for the second year in a row, this time during a first-half interview, at Allstate Louisiana Kickoff on Sunday.
“We can’t play any worse than that; I don’t think,” Kelly said on ABC TV. “It’s my first match, maybe we can.”
LSU trailed Florida 7-3 at the time. This relegated much worse than the single “Maybe our entire team should be culled” streak last year. Notre Dame at least beat the Seminoles that night.
It got better, then got a lot worse. The Seminoles won 24-23 on a blocked extra point, and that spoiled Kelly’s long-awaited appearance at LSU and gave the naysayers endless meme material. Oh, they were ready to pounce on that quote, especially after Kelly’s sudden exit from Notre Dame.
Brian Kelly on TV broadcast: “We couldn’t play worse; I don’t think. It’s my first game, maybe we can.”
– Bill Bender (@BillBender92) 5 September 2022
Kelly’s casual highlights were viral moments, too. Kelly experimented with a southern accent at LSU basketball and a subtle dance routine with a recruit. Kelly, who has won 263 games since taking over Grand Valley State in 1991, could have silenced it all with a win over Florida State.
Instead, she will be remembered for the hot mess that unfolded in the Caesars Superdome all the way to the final forbidden kick.
The Arizona State transition was led by Jayden Daniels at the last minute with the car that started in the LSU one-yard line; A gift from Florida stumbles upon the game at hand. Daniels Garay Jenkins hit for a possible tie with 0:00 on the clock.
Of course, LSU kicker extra point Damian Ramos was blocked by Garrett Jackson. Of course, that’s how Kelly’s reign in Baton Rouge began. What else can you expect on Labor Sunday?
Florida sweeps the extra point to win pic.twitter.com/Yw8BbQLgDH
– Alex 👋 (@dbs408) 5 September 2022
LSU lacked organization until the last two frantic minutes. Kelly’s quarterback selection, a supposed “tactical advantage,” looks good in the stats book. Daniels had 209 passing yards, 114 rushing yards, and two total TDs, but he was more charismatic than the pocket lane. Star receiver Kayshon Boutte had shot twice for 20 yards. This was a night off the attack schedule, and three backs united to run for 35 yards.
There were more unfortunate moments in defense. Defensive intervention, Mason Smith, the third team’s pre-season pick, left the game afterwards He suffers from his left knee during the celebration after the play in the first quarter.
Defensive end Ali Gay was sent off for a brutal blow to Jordan Travis on his second TD team to Ontaria Wilson which gave the Seminoles a 17-3 lead with 2:46 left in the third quarter. This was a targeting call that no one could dispute.
A rare targeting call that everyone agrees with
– Bovada (@BovadaOfficial) 5 September 2022
The bullshit on special teams continued into the final minutes. Nipper’s owner of LSU fumbled on a kick (a second in the game), but Treshaun Ward of Florida fumbled in one streak with 1:20 survival in an unnecessarily risky ground game. Liam McCormick has recovered, and the Tigers somehow still have a chance to win. Then the blocked extra point occurred.
This was Florida State – the program whose coach Mike Norville now holds a 10-13 record and entered the 2022 season on the hottest seat. The Seminoles tried to re-match.
Imagine if LSU won. Kelly would have built on that in the perfect September before getting into the SEC’s schedule. This is a loss of tone that could foretell more of the same fervor that defined the era of Ed Orgeron and Les Miles.
Instead, Norville scored a remarkable win and a 2-0 start.
It’s one game for Kelly, who this season came in at number six Sporting News Annual Coach Rankings 1-131. Two of the other top ten coaches – Dabo Sweeney of Clemson and Jim Harbo of Michigan – have lost their first starts with their current school. Sweeney was a temporary coach who eventually built a two-time National Champion with Little Ole Clemson’s Southern charm. Harbaugh returned to his alma mater in 2015, finally ending his Big Ten championship season in 2021.
Fitness is important in college football, perhaps more than any other sport, and that was the open question with Kelly when he moved from South Bend to Baton Rouge. This is the SEC. Britt Bielima hasn’t been fit for long in Arkansas. Joe Morehead didn’t last long in Mississippi. Kelly is a more successful coach than both, has two college playoff games and has more wins than any other coach at Notre Dame to prove it. However, the fit at LSU remains in doubt, and moments like this will remain constant.
That would remain more than former coach Orgeron called a UCLA fan for his “scary blue jersey” and then lost 38-27 last year. This will remain more than any of Miles’ time management adventures. Orgeron and Miles, like Nick Saban before them, benefited from a national championship with the Tigers before those viral moments. All of their coaches have made their LSU debut, too.
Important debut. Florida’s Billy Napier changed the whole look of the Gators’ race in one week with a win against the 7-seeded Utah on Saturday. Lincoln Riley of the University of Southern California, and Brent Venables of Oklahoma, also made their debuts.
Kelly didn’t, and now that camera—which was circulating everywhere on Sunday night in search of the next purple-faced blast infamous in the 23-20 loss to South Florida on September 23, 2011—is zoomed in like never before. It’s easy to forget that Kelly had the Irishman in his BCS Championship match the following season. By 2020, Notre Dame beat South Florida 52-0 and no one said a word.
Kelly needs time to build this consistent winner. It won’t be easy – especially in a section filled with more viral characters like Saban, Florida’s Jimbo Fisher, Ole Miss’ Lane Kiffin, and Mississippi’s Mike Leach. Sam Bateman of Evan Arkansas has pretty good public relations these days. Brian Harsin of Auburn is the other coach in the division, and he’s dealing with a hot seat because the fit is questionable and the Tigers went 6-7 in the first year.
It’s better if Kelly pays attention to that, even after one game.
At the Securities and Exchange Commission, things can get worse real fast.