Brian Kelly acknowledges LSU's defense wasn't good enough in 2023

On3 imageby:Dan Morrison12/07/23


Brian Kelly addresses LSU potential staff changes, transfer portal plan

In head coach Brian Kelly‘s second season at LSU, the Tigers struggled to live up to expectations. A large reason for those struggles came down to a poor defensive performance from the Tigers.

In a press conference following the regular season, Kelly acknowledged that the defensive effort simply wasn’t good enough from LSU.

“Look, 9-3, we’re here to win championships,” Brian Kelly said. “So, our defense did not play to the level that our standard is set at.”

LSU finished this season 80th in scoring defense, giving up 27.8 points per game. Against Power Five competition, the Tigers’ points per game allowed jumps up to 34.3 points per game. LSU was also 104th in total defense, giving up 409.2 yards per game.

“Nobody is happy, including everybody on the defensive side and the head football coach, that we didn’t play the kind of defense necessary. I’m not happy about it. Nobody is happy about it. Our fans shouldn’t be happy about it,” Kelly said.

“We have to do things to make sure that doesn’t happen again.”

This isn’t a problem that snuck up on LSU. Since the Ole Miss game at the end of September when the Tigers gave up 55 points in a loss, Kelly and the staff have been making adjustments.

“But to say that we’re just addressing it now is just not correct. We started addressing it after the Mississippi game. That’s when addressing out defensive shortcoming began. So, this process has been ongoing. It’s not like, all of a sudden, hey, by the way, you’ve gotta fix the defense. This has been ongoing and this process has been one where we feel the pain of everybody because we feel it too and it cannot be the kind of defensive performance we had this past year. It’s gotta be better and it will be better.”

LSU had what would be considered a good season in most places, but if the defense was better, it could have been a great season. That’s the standard Brian Kelly and the Tigers are trying to get back to more consistently.

Brian Kelly ‘not afraid’ to make tough staff decisions at LSU

The season, as a whole, was a frustrating one for LSU. Now, Brian Kelly says that he’s not afraid to make tough staff changes.

“I don’t think that I’ve ever, look, here’s what I can tell ya. I was three games into a season in 2016 at Notre Dame, I had to fire my defensive coordinator, and he was in my wedding. Those aren’t easy decisions, OK? I’m not afraid to make those decisions, and I’m going to do what’s best for LSU’s football program and the pursuit of a national championship,” Kelly said.

“I’m going to do it informed. I’m going to do it what’s best for the program, because it’s involving players, it’s involving coaches, it’s involving all things as it relates to being more successful as a defense. It’s not on one person. It’s collectively. If it was that easy we would have been in a different place. Like I said, I went three games into a season and made a change in the leadership. If it was that easy, those decisions are a lot easier.”