Is it Already Time for the Panic Button in Baton Rouge?
The start to the Brian Kelly era on Sunday night in New Orleans for LSU in short was well, not good. The fact that the Tigers had a shot to win at the end was really nothing short of a miracle, and the ending of a missed extra point was about as poetic as could be. LSU muffed a punt in their own red zone, then as Florida State was going in to ice the game they fumbled on the goal line to give LSU one last chance.
Miraculously, after a mostly pedestrian game in his first start for the Tigers, Jayden Daniels led a 98 yard drive in the final minute that ended in a touchdown, but of course this proceeded the missed extra point to end it. Should Brian Kelly have opted to go for two and try to steal a game he had no business winning? Absolutely. But even if he had done that, they were outplayed in essentially a home game by a team they are supposed to be better than and looked pretty horrible in the process.
When LSU wrote a blank check to hire Brian Kelly, many questioned his fit in the South and whether or not this could work out. Undeniably, however, Kelly is a fantastic football coach with a proven track record of winning everywhere he’s been and to his credit, has recruited very well since arriving in Baton Rouge. While Sunday night was certainly not ideal, LSU fans are going to need to relax and give him some time.
Yes, they have a lot of things to tune up. They looked undisciplined, the offense looked out of synch, they have now lost their best defender for the season, and their star receiver seems extremely frustrated with the direction of the program. All of this could culminate in a long season for the Tigers, but long term, I am still a believer that the Kelly experiment will work out in Baton Rouge.
Kelly is going to get a taste this season of what SEC football is all about and LSU may struggle, but Tiger fans have to realize that building a program from shambles back into a championship contender in simply not going to be a one year process.
Fair or unfair to Kelly, reaching such a historic peak in 2019 with perhaps the most talented offense that college football has ever seen has inflated expectations in Baton Rouge. And while he is not going to be on the hot seat anytime soon, the noise from the fan perspective will absolutely get louder if the Tigers can’t turn things around this season. But in my eyes, keep that panic button in the drawer, Tiger fans (for now).