Kelly’s team got behind early, and he could hear the people in the press box. Not the stands, but the people who hired him in the press box, something he called a ‘real situation.’
“Hopefully I won’t hear the people in the press box at Tiger Stadium,” Kelly said.
He loves the preparation that goes into a game more than anything. Monday through Friday, he’s nervous every day, wanting to make sure his football team is ready in every aspect to come Saturdays. It’s why he coaches, and when it does come to that game day, there’s no doubt in his mind about what should happen on the field.
“Once it gets to the point where practice is not exciting to me and the preparation is not exciting for me, I’ll walk away,” Kelly said. “That’s what drives me.”
As Kelly and the Tigers put the finishing touches on their preparation, there were still some questions he was willing to answer regarding how this team will look come Sunday. In the secondary, the question all offseason is how that rotation of transfers would look and Jarrick Bernard-Converse will play to the field side.
In other words, the broader side of the field where there’s more ground that must be covered while the Tigers will rotate Mekhi Garner, Colby Richardson, and Sevyn Banks will rotate on the boundary side and keep all four players well rested.
“He can handle multiple receivers and just has a really good sense of field awareness,” Kelly said of Bernard-Converse. “I think the most experienced guy we have is Jarrick and those other guys we’re gonna keep in a really good rotation.”
The other position Kelly touched on was tight ends as heading into the offseason, he wasn’t sure if the Tigers had one the team could rely on but now feels so much better about that group. Kelly and offensive coordinator Mike Denbrock have utilized tight ends well in their history as coaches and that won’t change this season.
Freshman Mason Taylor and junior Kole Taylor have the fast track to the bulk of the snaps this season, with Kelly continuing to sing the freshman’s praise with Florida State now a few days away.
“It offers you more versatility in the run game, play action pass, certainly when you get into four wide sets you lose that surface area that gives you the ability to chip the edge and hold off a defensive end,” Kelly said.
“I will tell you, I was not impressed where we were when I got here. I feel really good about where we are right now. Mason Taylor has done a pretty good job in making me feel that way. Kole has done a really nice job too. The freshman [Mason] is going to be a fine football player.”
The focus for Kelly and what he wants to see this week is how his players handle adversity throughout the game and keep sound minds. If the players can accomplish both, he feels the team is prepared to earn a positive outcome.
“This is really going to be about how we manage our emotions, how we handle either being down or ahead, adversity,” Kelly said. “This is really about putting a team in a competitive situation and really finding out about how they handle real competition. They’re gonna have to stay in a real good zone and not have highs and lows so that will be the real question.”