The LSU Tigers hope to clean up their special teams in Week 4 when they host the New Mexico Lobos. In LSU’s Week 3 win over Mississippi State, the Tigers struggled on special teams, something coach Brian Kelly addressed with reporters this week.
“Yeah, so a couple of things: The kickoffs are a direct result of the kicks,” Kelly said. “The kicks that have been returned have been line drives down the middle of the field. That is going to compromise your coverage. We don’t have a chance to get off blocks and get properly covered. Now can we get off some blocks and make some plays? Absolutely. We’ve got to be better there. So, this is not all on the kicker. However, it does expose you to those types of kicks.
“As it relates to the fielding of the punts, we got to coach better, and I’ve got to be involved in that and make sure that those guys are absolutely clear in terms of they cannot move their heels pass the 10-yard line. Greg obviously lost track of where he was. He’s a young player. We’ve got to do a better job coaching him there. The one that he tried to field, he felt like it hit one of our players. Look, when you’re looking at it, it’s close, but again, that goes to awareness and maybe we could have coached him better. If he saw some Mississippi State players moving towards the ball, maybe that’s the cue that you fall on it. If he doesn’t see a Mississippi State player going to it, maybe he stays away from it. And I think we can do a better job coaching that too.”
LSU opened the season with a 24-23 loss to Florida State, a game in which the Tigers muffed two punts and had their potential, game-tying extra point blocked with no time remaining on the clock.
“I’ve been doing this long,” Kelly said after his team’s game vs. the Seminoles. “You put a guy back there, a guy like Malik Nabers, you watch him, you evaluate him through four weeks of practice, and you feel comfortable with his elite skill set and his mindset that he’s going to be able to do a great job, and that wasn’t the case. That was a mistake that we made.
“He wants to do it, and we’ll have to reevaluate that situation. He’s a great kid. We didn’t lose the game because he dropped those two punts. We miraculously were able to overcome those. You usually wouldn’t. But that’s — you know, that’s on us. We made that evaluation. We watched him catch punts, and we felt like he was in a position where he could do that for us.
“As it relates to the field goal, it came from the same left side. We made an adjustment after the field goal and made a switch in personnel, and that didn’t work either. That’s on — that’s us. We have to do a better job coaching.”