There’s a lot of optimism in Baton Rouge surrounding the Brian Kelly hire.
Kelly comes to the bayou after a very successful 12-year stint at Notre Dame, and he’s expected to reverse the disappointment from the last two seasons. However, just as important as Kelly’s addition are the assistant coaches he brought with him.
LSU has struggled to find a competent offensive play-caller since Joe Brady left for the NFL after the 2019 season, but it hopes to have found one in Mike Denbrock, who comes in from Cincinnati after developing an NFL quarterback in Desmond Ridder, who led the Bearcats to a College Football Playoff appearance last season.
“I just think that he’s always been a really smart, intuitive play-caller,” Kelly said. “That’s why I’ve asked him to be my play-caller here at the top of the top. This is LSU. We’re here to win a national championship. So I get the chance to pick the best play-callers in the country. I think he’s the best play-caller. I’ve been together with him for a long time. I just think he’s intuitive. He’s smart, he knows football, he knows the offense I like to run and what I like to do.
“That’s obviously really key because our conversations are on point. I don’t have to explain a lot to him. He can go and go, ‘I know what you’re looking for there. Let’s go ahead and do that.’ I don’t know that there’s been this epiphany of he’s changed as much as he likes to do what I like to do. We like to control the line of scrimmage, we want physicalness within the offensive structure, we want to use a tight end and three wide receivers and we want to push the ball down the field. We want big chunk plays. I think that’s kind of stayed consistent with his philosophy.”
Kelly and Denbrock have a long history of working together. Before joining Cincy, Denbrock spent seven seasons as an assistant with the Fighting Irish in varying capacities. The pair also spent time together during the late 1980s and early 1990s at Grand Valley State, where Kelly landed his first head coaching job.
This is high praise from Kelly, but as he said, he took the LSU job with the hopes of capturing his first national title. He clearly thinks Denbrock is the play-caller to put the team in that position, and Denbrock should bring a schematically improved offense to the table that will look very different from what Tigers fans are used to seeing over the past couple of seasons.
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