The LSU Tigers reached the pinnacle of college football in 2019 after Joe Burrow and one of the best offenses we’ve ever seen led the program to a 15-0 record and a win against Clemson in the national championship game.
But since that season, things have gone south.
LSU has gone 11-13 (including Sunday night’s loss to Florida State) since winning the national championship a couple of seasons ago.
Ed Orgeron was fired after going 6-6 last year (he agreed to step down) and Brian Kelly was hired away from Notre Dame as his replacement.
Kelly instantly seemed like an odd fit in Baton Rouge.
And after watching his debut, the fit seems even stranger.
The Tigers looked downright bad against a Florida State team that probably isn’t that good.
LSU didn’t look well-coached. They made silly mistakes, like an obvious targeting penalty against Ali Gaye, one of the Tigers’ best defenders.
Ali Gaye just reminded us why targeting exists pic.twitter.com/17Yi1NsSWW— Unnecessary Roughness (@UnnecRoughness) September 5, 2022
That play is the result of poor coaching. That’s something that has to be emphasized during fall camp and practice.
LSU also muffed two punts and gave up two blocked kicks — one on a field goal and another on the game-tying extra-point with no time left on the clock.
There’s obviously something in their special teams protection that’s flawed. And it wasn’t corrected by the coaching staff during the course of the game.
That’s a problem. Though it shouldn’t be a surprise that it wasn’t corrected after watching Kelly’s mannerisms during the game.
For most of the night, Kelly looked disconnected from everyone around him. Every time the camera showed him, he was staring up at the scoreboard, seemingly indifferent to everything going on around him.
After the game, things went from bad to worse for LSU as star wide receiver Kayshon Boutte removed all mention of LSU from his social media profiles.
Boutte, one of the most talented wide receivers in the nation, finished the night with two receptions for 20 yards. He didn’t catch his first pass until late in the fourth quarter.
Typically, a team wants to find a way to get their best playmaker the ball as often as possible. LSU, however, failed to do that with Boutte. Again, that falls on coaching.
It’s hard to imagine a worse start to the Brian Kelly era than what we saw on Sunday night.
Maybe things will get better. Kelly has certainly managed to find his way out of tough situations at Notre Dame before. But I still think there’s plenty of reason for concern for LSU fans.
For the most part, I think when a coach shows red flags early, they shouldn’t be ignored (just ask Tennessee Vols fans about the early red flags with Derek Dooley, Butch Jones, and Jeremy Pruitt). When a coach shows you who he is, it shouldn’t be ignored.
Kelly’s had numerous missteps since arriving in Baton Rouge. It might not be time for LSU fans to panic, but it might not be long before that time arrives.
Remember, LSU ran off Coach O, a Louisiana native and former Tigers defensive lineman, less than two years after he won a national championship on the same field in New Orleans that Kelly lost his debut.
They won’t hesitate to run off Kelly if things don’t improve quickly.
Featured image via Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports