It's been a dozen years since Brian Kelly started over with a new program, but he expects his start in Baton Rouge to be different from the one in South Bend back in 2010.
That Fighting Irish squad started 1-3 with one major difference he can already see from this year's LSU team: Quarterback depth.
"I think the depth at the quarterback position is much different. ... The offensive line is clearly an area that we need to keep our eye on but I think we’ve added some really good transfers and we think we’ve got some young men that have developed," Kelly said at the podium for his first SEC Media Days appearance as Tigers head coach. "So I would say that right now I stand in front of you, though similar situations, I like the depth and the opportunity to be much better than in 2010.”
Kelly still wouldn't declare a front-runner in the group of four potential starting quarterbacks -- senior Myles Brennan, transfer Jayden Daniels, sophomore Garrett Nussmeier and true freshman Walker Howard. He would, however, give a bit of a rubric as to what that player would have to do to win the job.
"No. 1 they’ve got to take care of the football, No. 2 they’ve got to get the ball to the play-makers. … And No. 3, they’ve got to make plays, that quarterback," he said. "So the ultimate decision-making on who that quarterback is, he’ll have to hit those three notes. And I think all of those guys can do that. We’ll have to put them in that position so we can evaluate that.”
The offense was installed during spring practice, and each quarterback will now see the action tailored a bit toward their skill set throughout the summer, which is where he answer to that question will be found.
MORE FROM BRIAN KELLY
IS LSU GETTING OUT-BID ON NIL DEALS?
The relative "cost" of a recruiting class under the new Name, Image and Likeness landscape has come to the forefront this offseason with high-profile sniping between Texas A&M's Jimbo Fisher and Alabama's Nick Saban. Kelly says he's happy with where the Tigers are in that regard.
“I don’t know that we don’t have as many funds. Nobody has given me any kind of documentation that we’re behind. I feel very comfortable, quite honestly, as I stand here talking to you that what we’re doing relative to NIL is as competitive as anybody else. I don’t feel like we’re being outbid by anybody. I don’t think that’s the place of NIL anyway, so if we were being outbid, then we’re going to be outbid if we had $50 million in our collective. So I don’t feel hamstrung by that. I want to continue to educate with NIL. I want to be able to use the resources wisely to help promote Name, Image and Likeness and have that available for our student-athletes when the time comes.”
THOUGHTS ON TEXAS/OKLAHOMA JOINING SEC
“I love the fact that Oklahoma and Texas, two great programs, are coming into the SEC. That speaks to [Commissioner Greg] Sankey and understanding the lay of the land and being proactive and having two great institutions coming into the SEC. We’ll be excited, when they officially join, to have them on the schedule as well.”
ON ACCENT/FAVORITE FOOD IN LOUISIANA THUS FAR
“Understand now, I have a Boston-midwestern-Louisiana accent now, so it’s three dialects into one. It’s no longer family, I’ve got all kinds of stuff to throw at you. So just be ready. The best, it’s probably the crawfish etouffe, I don’t know you top that. I would say, also, the grilled oysters. If you haven’t had grilled oysters, try that. That’ll get your cholesterol up pretty high quickly. That’s pretty good, too.”
WHAT IS YOUR VIEW ON CONFERENCE REALIGNMENT
“Musical chairs, and then the music is going to stop here and you’re not going to have a place at the table. And I think that’s scary for a lot of universities and it’s left a lot of internal conversations about ‘where do we go?’ … It’s musical chairs and there’s not enough chairs for everybody and that’s the current state of college football.”
THOUGHTS ON IN-STATE VS NATIONAL RECRUITING
LSU's 2023 recruiting class has skyrocketed up the national rankings with a slew of high-profile commitments in July, but many with a common thread: They're headed to Baton Rouge from outside Louisiana.
Just three of the Tigers' 16 commits for the class are from in-state schools. It's an indicator of the national recruiting prowess Kelly brings to Baton Rouge, but also raises questions about his philosophy on in-state recruiting. Here's what Kelly said on the subject this week.
“I think first and foremost, making sure that you evaluate the entire state of Louisiana, and I think that that means, make sure you extend yourself. It’s not just New Orleans and the greater Baton Rouge area. You’ve got to get up north. You’ve got to get all the way up through Shreveport. You’ve got to get up to Monroe. You’ve got to get up all into the state of Louisiana. Now, that doesn’t mean you just take a kid from Louisiana because he’s from Louisiana. If he’s not rated as high, can you go out of state? Sure. But you’d better know the players in the state of Louisiana, and that means the entire state. And I think that’s maybe where, if I’d gotten any feedback, that maybe we need to extend our recruiting efforts a little bit further north, and I think we’ve done that.”