Brian Kelly didn’t mince words about what he wants to accomplish at LSU.
He joined the Varsity House Podcast in the spring, explaining his decision to leave his job coaching Notre Dame to lead LSU.
“I want to beat Nick Saban,” Kelly said. “Who doesn’t want to beat Nick Saban? Do you know what I mean? I want to play him in the regular season. That’s the standard, right? That’s the standard. Now he’s a conference opponent. I started Division II as a head coach and felt ready to move to Division I at Central Michigan. From there, I moved to Cincinnati. From there, I moved to Notre Dame.
“I loved my time in Notre Dame. I loved the players more than anything else. And then you’re presented with another challenge. I’ve always felt you never run from a job. You run to a job. I never ran from Notre Dame. I ran to an opportunity. I just felt like this was a great opportunity.”
It’s not a guarantee by Kelly. He’s just saying what he wants to accomplish. It’s not near as inflammatory as Texas A&M’s Jimbo Fisher comment before the 2021 season, saying the Aggies would beat Saban’s behind before he retires.
Still, there’s a big gap between wanting something and achieving it.
Kelly could find out how sizeable that divide is this week when his No. 17 Tigers (6-2, 4-1 SEC) face the No. 6 Crimson Tide (7-1. 4-1) on Saturday (6 p.m., ESPN) at Tiger Stadium. Or perhaps, Kelly gets his wish right away and wins his first game at LSU against Saban.
Kelly has had opportunities in the past, but each has fallen flat.