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What Coach Kelly said About Ole Miss

Brian Kelly doesn’t want to say that this LSU football is ‘different’ since the last LSU welcomed a top 10 opponent to Baton Rouge.

That was just two weeks ago when the purple and gold learned the hard way what it takes to compete against the elite of the elite in the SEC with the loss to Tennessee. Not drudging up the past too much, Kelly believes there have been some palpable lessons to take away as LSU is set to welcome No. 7 Ole Miss to Death Valley Saturday afternoon.

The Rebels come in undefeated and playing with a confidence that LSU is only just now starting to find, particularly on the offensive side of the ball. The Tigers laid out the blueprint for how to have success offensively against Florida, scorching the Gators for 532 yards en route to the road win.

With that performance came confidence but Kelly was quick to say this isn’t a team that is different in terms of game planning or even playcalling. This group has grown up a lot in the last 14 days through preparation and a newfound belief now that the players have seen how it’s done.

“Each week, this team is learning so much and growing. Unfortunate, they had to learn from the Tennessee loss; nobody wants to learn lessons after a loss,” Kelly said. “But they learned a lot about intentionality and purpose in terms of their preparation, and we saw that during the week. It carried over in the way they played on the road. I think you win on the road in the fashion they did, you build more confidence in your football team.

For the defense, that starts with tackling, and a number of the issues this group faced against Florida stemmed from a team trying to strip the offensive players instead of wrapping up. It seemed that all levels of the defense failed in this regard against Florida. There needs to be a greater focus on that, especially welcoming an Ole Miss rush offense that is No. 3 in the country, averaging 271.4 yards on the ground with a nation-high 24 rushing touchdowns.

Just last week the Rebels had three players rush for well over 100 yards in a win over Auburn so Kelly said there needs to be better with ‘doing our job’ in getting the Ole Miss runners to the ground this weekend.

“It starts with the fundamentals. Leverage, standing on top of the football and tackling,” Kelly said. “I don’t wanna make it simple, but it’s not that hard. We’ve gotta get better at the fundamentals and if we do that we’ll be better in the back end of the defense.”

This team suddenly finds itself in the SEC West hunt, currently tied with Alabama for second in the division, with Ole Miss leading the way undefeated. It’s a group that, excuse the cliche, is in control of its destiny.

While Kelly hasn’t touched those exciting possibilities, it’s just more fuel this group can use to continue letting that process and preparation sink in.

“It’s a team that knows if they don’t play clean, don’t have an attention to detail, they’ll have similar results that they had against Tennessee,” Kelly said. “I guess what I’m saying is that it’s not a different team but it’a a team that’s grown from the last couple of weeks and if they take that knowledge into their preparation this week and into the game with their performance, we should have one really good football team.”