Brian Kelly has done a lot of interviews too late where he discussed his earthquake move from Notre Dame to LSU.
He has hyped up for the power of the tigers. Discussed the limitations of the Irish. Defended his time to take the job – left ND while the team was still in the playoffs. He even tried to explain his pronunciation of “FAM-u-lee.”
He told Sports Illustrated that this is how he always pronounces it, which actually does not hold. So what. It does not matter. Of all the things to be discussed about Kelly and LSU joining forces to run for a national title, the so-called cultural fit will prove to be the least consequence.
First, everything anyone in college football is interested in is winning. If Kelly leads the Tigers to a national title, or at least back in serious fight, then Kelly will be hailed across the state.
If he does not, he will not.
Whether he is at home by a crawler in a boil or not does not matter.
After all, LSU fired one of the most unique Louisiana coaches ever, Ed Orgeron, just 19 months after winning a national title because the program progressed rapidly. No amount of Cajun charm, no serious throat accent, no amount of tears over understanding what the program means to the fans, could save him.
“Everyone’s like, ‘Oh, it’s going to be this white guy from the Midwest going down there, and it’s going crazy!'” Kelly told SI. “There’s a little more spice in the food, maybe a little bit more roux than I’m used to, but it has not really been an adjustment that I have felt that this is really outside my comfort zone.”
The man is in Baton Rouge to train, not to cook.
And Brian Kelly can train.
Is it enough to become the fourth LSU coach to win a national title since 2003, along with Nick Saban, Les Miles and Coach O? That’s a topic in the latest issue of the College Football Enquirer.
Kelly maybe. If nothing else, he has proven to be a much better coach and leader of a program than both Miles and Orgeron. Saban, who rebuilt the program, is obviously a different level.
Kelly won two national championships in Division II Grand Valley State (Michigan), captured a Mid-American Conference title in Central Michigan and won 34-6 in Cincinnati, including a 12-0 season. You do not do all this by accident, luck or simply by acquiring some talent.
At Notre Dame, he is the most winning coach in program history and got the Irish to a BCS title fight and two playoffs. They were non-competitive at that level, but there have not been too many programs that are competitive against Alabama and Clemson.
Kelly is not known as an ace recruiter – or a charismatic personality in almost any environment. He was good enough to enhance Notre Dame’s talent that it went from being forever hailed as nothing more than hype to a top-10 program.
Kelly reckons LSU’s institutional power to overcome it. Despite arriving just days before the early signing period last December, Kelly to Rivals.com signed five-star recruits in the 2022 class. That’s the same amount as his last five Notre Dame recruiting classes.
In the class 2023, 11 of the 100 best recruits at the national level per. Rivals.com from Louisiana. It is on a par with the course.
Many years, LSU is going to get most of those guys. Maybe all. Kelly is even focused on working in the northern part of the state – which great linemen tend to come from but are less attached to the tigers – to support a rare weakness.
After that, he said they will focus on Houston, East Texas, Atlanta, Florida and some national recruits (where Kelly has plenty of contacts) when needed. LSU always has talent. Kelly gets hers.
Any recruit who makes a college choice based on the head coach’s gumbo recipe (or lack thereof for the Massachusetts native) is probably not worth much anyway. It is not that Saban is known as a charmer and he is the one who is best at pushing prospects across the state border.
This is a business agreement. It’s always a business deal. LSU did not hesitate to fire a coach who was the perfect cultural fit to lose nearly $ 100 million on a slightly awkward guy who just wins matches.
So Brian Kelly will have to win matches. If he delivers, he will be loved. If not, he’s fired like Orgeron and Miles.
Nothing else matters. This is college football, after all.