When Brian Kelly left South Bend for Baton Rouge, it was met with harsh criticism. After all, Notre Dame is one of the most storied programs in college football history, and he was the winningest Irish coach of all time. People called the fit wonky. A midwestern man coming down to the bayou would never work. Well, in the first week of November, the LSU Tigers are the No. 10 team in the nation, and the Marcus Freeman-led Fighting Irish didn’t even make the Top 25 in the first College Football Playoff rankings.
- Ohio State
- Ole Miss
- Kansas State
- Penn State
- North Carolina
- Oklahoma State
- Wake Forrest
- NC State
- Oregon State
Brian Kelly took over a program that was a dumpster fire. LSU went from the greatest college football season ever in 2019 to firing a distracted Ed Orgeron in a couple of years. Kelly has completely transformed the culture in Baton Rouge, but this isn’t surprising. He’s been successful wherever he’s been, so it’s no shock his formula is working at LSU, even though it may be ahead of schedule to some. Roman Harper shared some thoughts about the Tigers and Kelly with Jacques Doucet of WAFB in Louisiana.
“Look, LSU’s a great team, Brian Kelly’s done an amazing job,” Harper said. “Brought in a great staff, and they all believe and understand what they’re trying to get done, and the Brian Kelly experiment is off to a great start. It’s faster than what most people expected. For me personally, I figured it’d be a great situation because I’ve known and I’ve seen Brian Kelly’s success as a head coach. And if you look at the past 2 head coaches at LSU and think they’re better than Brian Kelly, you’re telling yourself a lie. You take all that with what LSU has, and what they’re been able to bring in such a short time, they’re off to a great start, and this should be a great matchup. It should be a four-quarter game.”
"#LSU is a great team. Brian Kelly has done an amazing job."
"It should be a four quarter game." pic.twitter.com/LAm8wUaoS0
— Jacques Doucet (@JacquesDoucet) November 2, 2022
Harper is absolutely correct. The last two head coaches at LSU — Ed O and Les Miles — won National Championships, and Kelly is a far better coach than them. With a team full of transfers, LSU has gone from a terribly ugly loss in the season opener to statement wins over SEC rivals in Flordia and Ole Miss. Sure, the Tennessee Volunteers stomped the Tigers, and LSU is a nearly two-touchdown underdog this weekend against Alabama, but Kelly and LSU Football have exceeded expectations this season.
In his first season at the helm, Brian Kelly has the LSU Fightin Tigers in a position to win the SEC West. Just imagine what the program will look like when he gets his own recruits in the building. There is a monster brewing in Baton Rouge.
Photographer: John Korduner/Icon Sportswire