After an embarrassing 40-13 loss to Tennessee last weekend, LSU football now shifts its focus to another SEC test against Florida. LSU and Florida come into this game with identical records at 4-2, and have had similar seasons. Brian Kelly previewed this game and talked about improving along with giving some injury updates at his weekly press conference.
Here are some of the takeaways.
Injury-wise, LSU took a big hit on the offensive line this past weekend. The night before the game, starting left tackle Will Campbell was reportedly hospitalized after suffering an “episode” during team walkthroughs. LSU initially reported dehydration as a possible cause, but whether or not that was the only cause is unclear.
“Campbell had a major test this morning that he passed,” Kelly said on Monday. “We’ve got one more hurdle we think he should pass which we’re confident. We’ll see what happens, things are trending in a positive direction for Will.”
Garrett Dellinger was the other critical injury on the offensive line. Dellinger already missed the Auburn game earlier this season with a hand injury, but against Tennessee, he suffered an MCL sprain. According to Kelly, Dellinger is likely to miss the next two games.
“Garrett’s got a second degree MCL [sprain]. So he’ll be lost for this week,” Kelly said. “We’re really thinking that it’s probably a two week injury for Garrett.”
Matchup with Florida
It was finally go-time in Death Valley. The Tigers were back home to face the No. 8 ranked team in college football following their huge win …
LSU enters the Florida game both with an opportunity to bounce back and prove itself but also tasked with another formidable opponent. Florida enters the game 4-2 but has proven it can compete at a high level with its win over Utah to start the season. Offensively, the Gators are led by quarterback Anthony Richardson and feature an impressive running game behind a talented offensive line.
“The strength to me on this Florida team is the offensive line,” Kelly said. “Really good offensive line. And that will be the challenge, they can run the football. And they have proven [that] I think they’re averaging six yards plus running the football.”
“This is a really talented football team on offense, clearly have an outstanding quarterback and very similar to Hendon Hooker that we saw this weekend, great size, strong arm. And he’s very dangerous. So skilled quarterback, outstanding running backs, Johnson and Etienne are both game breakers,” Kelly said.
The game will also be a battle of first-year head coaches as Kelly will take on former UL-Lafayette Head Coach Billy Napier. Both coaches have already drawn comparisons to each other as first-year SEC head coaches, especially after Napier’s name was rumored to be in the mix for the LSU job last year.
State of the program
After the Tennessee game, the big theme was poor coaching from LSU. Kelly took full responsibility after the game and reiterated many of those statements in his Monday press conference.
“I think we have to look at our teaching and if it’s not being retained,” Kelly said. “It falls on us as coaches, teachers and educators to make sure it can’t be just ‘Well he’s not getting it.’ We have to look at and find out how can they get that and apply it and take it to the field.”
Kelly also talked about the “process” the team is going through and how they still have room to improve before achieving many of the program’s major goals.
“We’re right in the middle of our process,” Kelly said. “We’re working at it every single day. And it’s a journey, and I’m excited to be on it. Our guys are working hard to get better every single day. And we’ll get back to work out this week to bring more of the traits necessary.”
LSU now sits at 4-2 at the halfway point of the season, still with plenty to play for. The second half of the season will be a building block for next season and the program moving forward. With another big SEC matchup up next, LSU has another chance to build momentum.