After coming off a rough Saturday in Tiger Stadium against a top ten program in Tennessee, LSU head coach Brian Kelly spent time with the media today to discuss all that went wrong during the blowout loss to the Volunteers and talks about moving ahead to Florida. Here are the key notes of what he said today regarding the Tennessee loss, the Florida game this week, and finally, some injury updates at the beginning of this week.
Brian Kelly started the press conference addressing the tough Tennessee loss and all the mistakes the team put themselves in against a Top 10 football team that was riding in with a lot of confidence.
“Tennessee played well. The attention to detail has to get better and the coaching has to get better. We can’t spot them ten points because of special teams. You have to play clean vs. a top ten team and we didn’t do that. Hats off to Tennessee. The great part about it is that we get to flip the script.”LSU Head Coach Brian Kelly’s opening statement on the Tennessee loss
The LSU Tigers hope to flip the script against another team that is still trying to build its culture in the Florida Gators led by another first year head coach in the SEC in Billy Napier.
“They are a talented team on offense. Their quarterback is similar to Hendon Hooker as he has a great arm and can make plays with his legs. They have great running backs in Montrell Johnson and Trevor Etienne. Their strength is the offensive line. They can run the ball as they average six yards per carry. We will have to rise to the challenge.”
“Defensively, I like their linebacker (Ventrell) Miller and they have a big defensive line. (Jadon) Hill was the SEC Defensive Player of the Week and had two interceptions. Offensively, we have to be much more balanced and get back to work. We are in the middle of our process and it’s a journey. The guys are working hard every day. We have to not just on talent, but being smart as well.”LSU head coach Brian Kelly on what stands out about Florida
One of the first questions was about the status of Will Campbell, who had a scary medical incident that kept him out of the Tennessee game. The good news is that Campbell is fine and that the team is optimistic that he returns soon.
“Good news on Will Campbell. He had a major test and passed. He is going to be released within the next hour or so. We’ve got one more hurdle to pass. We think if we pass that, which we’re confident, we’ll see what happens. Things are trending in a really positive direction for Will, so we’re really pleased.”Brian Kelly on Will Campbell update
Brian Kelly also updated the media on Garrett Dellinger’s status after he went down during the Tennessee game on Saturday. According to Kelly, he has a MCL injury and is expected to miss two weeks. When it comes to his replacement, it is going to be a position battle throughout the week to see who will be the fifth option. Anthony Bradford could be an option to move in at left guard for Dellinger.
One of the most surprising moves in the Tennessee game was that freshman standout Harold Perkins did not play much this past Saturday. Kelly explained why Perkins was not on the field against Tennessee’s high tempo offense.
“He was mainly moved to play an outside role this season, and Tennessee spread us out. We were playing full nickel, and his position was used less. We didn’t want to move him inside for one week as a freshman. We expect him to play more this weekend and match up well vs. Florida.”Brian Kelly on reason why Harold Perkins’ role was limited defensively on Saturday
Again, special teams came back to bite LSU with a muffed opening kickoff and giving up a big 59 yard punt return that turned into 10 Tennessee points.
“We have to field the football and tackle in space and we need to spend more time individually on things. There isn’t a whole group of other guys ready to play on special teams. This is not the JV squad out there. These are our best players. We have to stick with it.”Brian Kelly on poor special teams execution
Kelly was then asked about once again having another slow start. Kelly reiterated that the team was excited to play and that the problems was lack of execution and not lack of energy for the morning kickoff.
“We were prepared. The guys were excited. We have to execute better. We had guys in position and got off to a slow start again. The team was not lethargic. The execution was not there.”Brian Kelly on team’s slow start against Tennessee
Offensively, the biggest problems came up in crucial situations, especially on third and fourth downs throughout the entirety of the football game.
“We moved the ball, but we didn’t score in the red area. We need to execute better in key third and fourth down situations and red zone. We need to spend more time working in critical situations.”Brian Kelly on what went wrong on third and fourth downs throughout the game
With a talented freshman quarterback that was a five star coming out of high school and has a lot of high expectations, Kelly was asked about how Walker Howard is progressing within the program.
“He gains more knowledge every day. He believes he’s better than every QB we have, which is awesome and you want that, but he respects everyone in the room. We have a good feeling about him.”Brian Kelly on Walker Howard
Approaching the team’s second SEC road game in three weeks, Kelly talks about how he thought his team handled the crowd noise against Auburn.
“We’ll be okay. We seem to be more focused and locked in. They did a nice job in preparation for Auburn and they have to be locked in again.”Brian Kelly on how the team has approached crowd noise this season
Halfway through the first season, Kelly is continuing to teach the process to the players in his program.
“You guys might laugh, but we’re right in the middle of our process. We’re working on it every single day. It’s a journey, and I’m glad to be on it.”Brian Kelly on the team’s outlook through six weeks
Finally, Kelly was asked about his confidence level in the defensive line after not having their best game against Tennessee and going up against a good Florida offensive line.
“It’s a good offensive line and I think we have a good defensive line. We’re going to have to play better than we did last week. I think we are capable of doing that.”Brian Kelly on his defensive line against Florida’s offensive line
The entire LSU football team looks to play better this week on the road in Gainesville against the Gators. Tomorrow, make sure to come back here as I give my takeaways from the Tennessee game.
To watch the entire Brian Kelly press conference, click here!