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#pounditThursday, December 7, 2023

Brian Kelly answers when he thinks LSU will contend for a championship

Brian Kelly smiles at an LSU press conference

Dec 1, 2021; Baton Rouge, LA, USA; Newly named LSU Tigers head football coach Brian Kelly answers media questions after being introduced in a press conference at Tiger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Patrick Dennis-USA TODAY Sports

LSU has made some big hires recently, and many of their coaches have delivered championships in their second year on the job. Kim Mulkey just led LSU’s women’s basketball team to a title in her second year. Baseball coach Jay Johnson just did the same in his second year on the job.

This coming fall will mark Brian Kelly’s second season leading LSU’s football team. Will he follow the trend set by Mulkey and Johnson? Kelly doesn’t think so.

Kelly spoke with The Daily Advertiser’s Blake Toppmeyer for an interview in June. Some of that interview was published on Monday, including Kelly’s thoughts on whether the team is championship-ready.

Toppmeyer asked Kelly when he thinks LSU will be ready to seriously contend for a national championship.

“We need another year of recruiting – one more really good year on both sides of the ball, I think, puts us in a position where, I think Year 3, the consistency piece, the depth of our program, the messaging, all the things we do on a day-to-day basis, puts us in a position to compete for a championship,” Kelly told Toppmeyer.

“Year 2, the foundation is in place. I think there’s a really good confidence within the group. We’ve got good players. There’s some holes. There’s a little air coming out of the tire here and there. I think we’ve kind of patched most of it, but I think Year 3 is probably the year where I’ll feel, in terms of building a program, we’ve had enough time to really put the pieces together.”

Kelly is trying to temper the expectations of LSU fans while also being realistic. Though turnaround jobs in college football are possible, getting a program on to the level of a College Football Playoff team in short order is not easy. Maybe LSU can pull that off this fall, but doing so in two years seems like a more realistic timeline.

LSU went 10-4 in Kelly’s first season on the job, including a home win over Alabama that helped the Tigers capture the SEC West. The SEC football schedule is a real wringer, so emerging from it as a championship team won’t be easy.

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