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Brian Kelly is starting two true freshman offensive tackles for first time in his career, he couldn't be prouder

Kaiden Smith10/18/22
Article written by:On3 imageKaiden Smith

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(Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

LSU bounced back from their first conference loss of the season to Tennessee this past weekend, defeating Florida at home 45-35. The Tigers had their most impressive offensive outing of the season against the Gators, which starts up front at the offensive line, where LSU is starting two true freshman tackles. This is extremely rare in the college game, and head coach Brian Kelly expressed just how unusual it is.

“I don’t think I ever have but I’m having a hard time with last week in memory, so 32 years, 33 years, I don’t believe I’ve started two freshman period on an offensive line, but to have two tackles in the SEC is quite unusual,” Kelly said.

Emery Jones and Will Campbell have started in five and six games for the Tigers at the offensive tackle position. The duo both ranked in the top ten in the country in their 2022 class for the interior offensive lineman position according to On3 Consensus, with Campbell towering at 6-foot-6, 285 pounds and Jones at 6-foot-4, 331 pounds.

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“Again I think I talked about this last week, it’s not necessarily the physical, although they have the physical, because you cannot play in this league unless you have physical traits. These guys are too fast, they’re too big, they’re too strong, they’ll walk you back to the quarterback if you’re not physically strong enough,” Kelly said. “And Emery Jones and Will Campbell physically have the traits to go in the weight room and be as strong as anybody that we have and are able to move their feet to obviously go out and set these guys.”

Jones and Campbell clearly have the physical tools to play at a high level in the SEC, but Kelly believes what makes them stand out is their mental game, especially for freshman who just graduated from high school this year.

“They’re gonna miss a couple right, we got beat inside on a couple of times that they counter moved us, but these guys are extraordinary in their ability to move on to the next play. They focus then they refocus, so their mental approach to the game is so far above any freshman that I’m used to having. They generally have that look in their eyes right about now that they’re done, these guys are anxious for more and that’s unusual,” Kelly said.

The duo has played a key role in the Tigers having five 100-plus yard rushers already this season, and it seems like Kelly has not only found his offensive tackles for the present, but the future as well.