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Texas A&M Football

Brian Kelly looks to immediately boost LSU back into SEC West contention

June 29, 2022
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The coach with the thick Cajun accent is replaced by the coach with the fake Southern accent.

New LSU coach Brian Kelly’s preposterous southern twang drew nationwide ridicule. But no one in Baton Rouge will care about his accent if he can lead an LSU ascent.

Last season, the Tigers endured their first losing season since 1999. Thus, Ed Orgeron was released just two years after supervising a national champion.

Cue the arrival of Kelly from Notre Dame, who posted more than 100 victories in South Bend. Twice he led the Irish to the College Football Playoff. Once they might have even deserved to be there.

The LSU faithful will probably be content — for this year, anyway — by just getting back to contending in the SEC West Division.

Andre Broussard/ Special to The Daily Advertiser
Kelly boasts a 263–96–2 all-time record.

Frankly, that should be an attainable goal.

The defensive line is projected to be outstanding. The secondary is always athletic. The linebackers are solid. Receiver Kayshon Boutte is one of the most dazzling playmakers in the SEC. There is no shortage of candidates to get the football to Boutte.

Sixth-year senior Myles Brennan has been productive when he plays. He just doesn’t play often. He missed all of last season with an injury and played only three games in 2020.

On one hand, Brennan passed for more than 1,100 yards and 11 touchdowns in those three games. On the other hand, the opponents were Mississippi State, Vanderbilt and Missouri — which had some of the most vulnerable pass defenses in the nation that season.

But at least Brennan has some SEC experience. The Tigers’ other primary option is Arizona State transfer Jayden Daniels. Last season, he passed for 2,380 yards and 10 touchdowns for the Sun Devils but also threw 10 interceptions. He is, however, a dangerous runner. He ran for 710 yards and six TDs in 2021.

If neither works out, Kelly can turn to redshirt freshman Garrett Nussmeier or highly-touted true freshman Walker Howard, whose dad, Jamie, once quarterbacked LSU.

Whoever emerges as the starting quarterback may not get much protection or help from the running game.

The offensive line is a huge concern. LSU quarterbacks were sacked 38 times last season. That’s with three starters that were taken in the NFL draft.

LSU didn’t run well, either. The Tigers were ranked 114th in the nation in rushing offense. Leading rusher Tyrion Davis-Price, who gained 1,003 yards, was selected in the third round of the draft.

There is hope the running game will be boosted by the return of John Emery Jr., a former five-star prospect who was academically ineligible in 2021. But in two previous seasons, he has rushed for just 566 yards and seven touchdowns.

Area of strength: The Tigers’ defensive line is good and could get much better. Defensive end Ali Gaye returns from an injury that limited him to four games in 2021. In 2020, he was an All-SEC selection. BJ Ojulari, who posted seven sacks in 2021 and was twice named SEC Defensive Lineman of the Week, is back. Sophomore defensive tackle Maason Smith is a rising star.  

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Kayshon Boutte has emerged as one of college football’s most explosive wide receivers. 

Area of concern: The Tigers struggled to run and pass protect last season. The offensive line doesn’t figure to be significantly better, either. Much hope is cast upon true freshman Will Campbell, a four-star prospect. Guard Marlon Martinez and tackle Garrett Dellinger are the only returning starters up front. Senior transfer Tre’Mond Shorts, a two-time FCS All-American at East Tennessee State, is out to show he can successfully make the step up in competition.

Impact newcomer: True freshman offensive tackle Will Campbell was rated the No. 4 prospect at his position. At 6-foot-6, 300 pounds, he’s physically ready to play. He’ll likely get a chance to prove he can measure up against SEC defensive linemen.

Top players

  • WR Kayshon Boutte: He was on the way to an All-American caliber season in 2021 until suffering an ankle injury in a loss to Kentucky. Boutte had 38 catches for 509 yards and nine touchdowns in just six games. There was speculation he would enter the transfer portal, but his decision to stay was the best news of the offseason for LSU.
  • DT Maason Smith: A strong inside pass rusher, Smith started four games as a true freshman. He showed a lot of promise in that small sample size. Smith posted 19 tackles, five stops for losses and four sacks. As a full-time starter, those numbers could triple.
  • DE Ali Gaye: A projected All-SEC defensive end in 2022 but suffered a torn labrum and was limited to just four games. He had sacks against UCLA and Mississippi State and was credited with a half-sack against Kentucky before missing the remainder of the season.

2022 schedule

  • Sept. 4. vs. Florida State (in New Orleans)
  • Sept. 10 vs. Southern
  • Sept. 17 vs. Mississippi State
  • Sept. 24 vs. New Mexico
  • Oct. 1 at Auburn
  • Oct. 8 vs. Tennessee
  • Oct. 15 at Florida
  • Oct. 22 vs. Ole Miss
  • Nov. 5 vs. Alabama
  • Nov. 12 at Arkansas
  • Nov. 19 vs. UAB
  • Nov. 26 at Texas A&M
Discussion from...

Brian Kelly looks to immediately boost LSU back into SEC West contention

5,198 Views | 7 Replies | Last: 1 mo ago by Ag Tag
AgOutsideAustin
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AG
Ready for that last game corndogs!!!
jigsaw87
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Cojack
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How'd everyone enjoy that "Boston" Rouge accent
P.U.T.U
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AG
Quote:

Cue the arrival of Kelly from Notre Dame, who posted more than 100 victories in South Bend. Twice he led the Irish to the College Football Playoff. Once they might have even deserved to be there.
Haha, way to sneak that one in
Iraq2xVeteran
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AG
I think LSU will finish 8-4 with losses to Auburn, Alabama, Arkansas, and Texas A&M. I predict they will enter start 7-1 with only a loss at Auburn on 10/1, but they will lose all 3 SEC games in November. I won't be surprised if they lose at Florida on 10/8 either.
Ag in ATL
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AG
Eight home games. Wowser!
Ag Tag
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Is he going to continue to rub his butt on his players?
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