NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA – SEPTEMBER 04: Head coach Brian Kelly of LSU Tigers looks on during the game against the Florida State Seminoles at Caesars Superdome on September 04, 2022 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
The stage was set, primetime on a Sunday night. LSU vs Florida State in the Caesars Superdome and the Allstate Louisiana Kickoff. A marquee matchup for week one standards.
Standing on the sidelines in his new purple and gold LSU attire, former Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly at times looked defeated, a look we see all too often from coaches when things just aren’t going the way they planned.
But what exactly was the plan? I don’t think this was the Brian Kelly offense that anyone expected to see on the field Sunday night.
Through the first 45 minutes of action, your All-SEC stud receiver had zero catches and one target on the opening play of the drive. Was the plan to use him as a decoy? That didn’t seem to be working if so. Jayden Daniels was your workhorse in the running game, and as talented as the other receivers are, no one to that point had stepped up to take over the game. So why not, intentionally call plays to target one of the best receivers in college football? Why not find ways to creatively get him involved in the offense? I have a hard time imagining that Florida State’s defense was smothering him to the point that he was a non-factor, so what was the deal?
“You know, I think it’s like anything else,” Brian Kelly Said of Kayshon Boutte after Sunday’s loss. “He was a great player trying to make plays, maybe trying to do a little too much and catch the ball before he had it.”
Okay… Fine but how does your star receiver make it all the way to the midpoint of the fourth quarter in the midst of your comeback attempt before recording his first catch?
“I wouldn’t read too much into it,” Kelly added. “I think he learned tonight that’s he’s just got to let the game come to him. “There’s going to be some nights where he doesn’t get all the balls, you know that young man has so much on his shoulders, we just got to get to him and tell him to let the game to him, he’s going to get his catches and not to press so much.”
‘Don’t read too much into it’ is basically coach-speak for he’ll bounce back. But I’m going to be honest here, it’s hard not to read too much into it when your best player doesn’t record his first catch until halfway through the fourth quarter. Couple that with the fact that just minutes after the game, LSU receivers Kayshon Boutte, Malik Nabers and Kyren Lacy scrubbed their social media accounts and removed all mentions of LSU.
But with all that said, let’s give the players the benefit of the doubt here. They had just endured a heartbreaking loss, and for Nabers, I can’t even imagine the garbage he was being force fed on social media after his two muffed punts. So perhaps this was their attempt to silence the haters, or at least remove themselves from the conversations. Let us remember, at the end of the day these are just kids doing their best.
And after all, like Brian Kelly said. Don’t read too much into it.