For Kelly and LSU, this isn’t a game that’s viewed as a team playing with “house money” but rather an opportunity to really show just how fast this rebuild is coming along. Taking on a Saban led Alabama team that essentially is fighting for its college football playoff lives every week moving forward is no small task.
The purple and gold enter this matchup as double digit underdogs at home but the players and coaches in the building know the kind of fire this team is starting to catch after the last two conference wins over Florida and Ole Miss. Kelly talked about the change that’s been occurring over a period of months with this team and now that the results are starting to show on the field, the belief levels have cranked up to new highs.
“This was a big change for them and adapting to the new standards on a day to day basis, building different habits and just thinking right in everything they do relative to their preparation,” Kelly said. “I think that’s the two biggest things and allowed them to take their preparation to a new level and allowed them to perform better.”
Kelly and Saban have squared up twice before, once in a national championship that Saban’s Crimson Tide knocked off Kelly’s Notre Dame 42-14 in 2013. But this is the first time the two will meet in the SEC, in what’s been a matchup that means a lot to both programs over the years.
“We have a lot of common friends and have been in the business a long time. I just think there is so much respect for another given what each of us have gone through relative to different eras of college football with great changes and being able to adjust,” Kelly said Wednesday on The Paul Finebaum Show. “We talk about the NCAA transfer portal and today with NIL — it’s been everything over the past 30 years. It’s just the mutual respect for the consistency he has year in and year out. He’s living with the changes in college football, adapted, recruited and been a representative of doing it the right way in college football.”