Press "Enter" to skip to content

Coach Kelly & LSU’s First Road Test is Against Auburn

Head Coach Brian Kelly gave updates on the matchup, injuries, and team development when talking to the media this week. Here are some notable updates with the Auburn game on the horizon.

Injury update

LSU was without multiple players in the win over New Mexico, which was a talking point this week. The first concern immediately following the game was for LSU quarterback Jayden Daniels, who left the game in the third quarter. After the game, Kelly said Daniels was already cleared and confirmed that this week.

“Jaden, no residual effects from Saturday. He’ll be able to practice,” Kelly said.

Safety Joe Foucha, a graduate transfer from Arkansas, returns this week from a four-game academic suspension. Kelly reported on Saturday that his presence would be significant this week, with starting safety Major Burns out for three to six weeks after suffering a neck injury.

LSU’s other starting safety, Jay Ward, also missed Saturday’s game, but Kelly said they expect Ward to play this weekend.

“Jay Ward is feeling really good,” Kelly said. “I think he’s a go for Tuesday. We’ll probably limit his workload on Tuesday, but he should be able to go [against Auburn].”

On the defensive line, BJ Ojulari also sat out on Saturday, but Kelly confirmed after the game that it was out of precaution. Maason Smith was the other starting defensive lineman absent, but he is out for the remainder of the season after tearing his ACL in the season opener.

Matchup with Auburn

LSU is playing its first road game against Auburn this weekend, and Kelly mentioned how important it would be for the team to avoid distractions.

“We’ll have to do a great job of not being distracted to be focused on making sure that our guys are locked in on what’s important,” Kelly said.

Kelly has only coached in two SEC road venues during his career, including a loss with Notre Dame in Athens against Georgia and a loss with Central Michigan against Kentucky. 

Regarding Auburn, the orange and blue Tigers are riding positive momentum after a 17-14 win over Missouri. Auburn’s strength is in the run game with the running back tandem of Tank Bigsby and Jarquez Hunter. Kelly talked about keeping them in check as being key for the defense.

“Auburn has some talented football players offensively,” Kelly said. ‘Both backs are outstanding. You know Bigsby is a three-year starter, with over 2000 career rushing yards, 19 touchdowns. I think that’s kind of, for us when we’re watching the film, the running backs are outstanding players.”

Robby Ashford made his first start for Auburn last weekend, and Kelly mentioned the importance of slowing him down in the run game.

“Ashford, at quarterback, started last week against Missouri. He too is a great runner, that’s going to be our biggest concern to keep him in wraps in terms of running the football,” Kelly said.

Improvement of the team

Another talking point this week was LSU’s momentum coming off three consecutive wins. Since the Florida State loss, LSU has improved and gained momentum over the last three games. Kelly voiced his satisfaction in how the team has responded throughout the season to adversity and the general nature of being in a new system and culture.

“I’ve been really proud of the way they have embraced change and done the things that we’ve asked them to do to become more consistent on a day to day basis,” Kelly said. 

Kelly didn’t downplay the significance of the winning streak but also acknowledged the level of competition. LSU did pick up an impressive win over Mississippi State during that span, but Kelly still described the streak as “modest.”

“We’ve been able to make the progress necessary to to have a modest winning streak, and this is modest, we’ve got a lot of work ahead of us this month will tell us a lot, right, we’ve got an SEC slate in front of us over the next four weeks, which will challenge us to a new level.”