We’re just over 48 hours from the Brian Kelly era officially kicking off when the Tigers take the short trip to New Orleans to face the Florida State Seminoles in the season-opener.
It won’t be FSU’s opener, though, as coach Mike Norvell’s team had the opportunity to shake off some of the rust in a 47-7 home win over Duquesne during Week 0. If LSU wants to begin the new regime’s tenure the right way and earn its first season-opening win since 2019, it’s not going to be easy.
One advantage the Tigers have, however, is Kelly’s familiarity with the opponent. He faced the Seminoles in each of the last two seasons at Notre Dame, including a season-opening win last fall. At his press conference on Monday, Kelly discussed what Florida State brings to the table.
“We’re playing a team that I’m quite familiar with,” Kelly said, per On3. I opened up against Florida State last year. I know Mike very well. Mike Norvell has done a really outstanding job in developing this football team. They’re a disciplined group now. It wasn’t the same group that we saw a couple years ago. Last year they took us to overtime with the team that I coached last year. It’s a team that has some talented players.
“Defensively, they have physicality at the defensive line position and athletes at the second level and backfield. From an offensive standpoint, it starts at the quarterback position. Jordan Travis is a great competitor, can make things happen. People use ‘dual-threat quarterback’ He can throw the football, he runs, he keeps plays alive…He’s led by a deep, talented receiving corp. And what we saw on Saturday was them rushing for 406 yards. That certainly gets your attention.”
FSU saw three backs eclipse 100 yards on the ground against the Dukes, and this will be an interesting first test for an LSU defense — particularly its front seven — that is expected to be much improved in 2022. Defensive coordinator Matt House will have his hands full in the opener, but Kelly said he welcomes the challenge.
“This is a team that has a good program,” he said. “So it’ll be a great opener for us and one that we’re excited about.”
The Tigers begin the 2022 season under the lights at the Superdome on Sunday at 6:30 p.m. CT. The game will be televised on ABC.
Follow Tyler to continue the conversation on Twitter: @TylerNettuno