Brian Kelly speaks out on Nick Saban’s retirement

Back in January, the college football world was turned upside down when the legendary Nick Saban announced his retirement as the head coach of the Alabama Crimson Tide football program.

Truth be told, I am not sure it will be real for fans of the sport until the season rolls around in late August and Coach Saban is no longer making his promenade inside Bryant-Denny Stadium.

Not only will it not be the same for fans of the sport, but even the now former peers of Saban will have to adjust to the GOAT no longer pacing the opposite sideline.

Recently LSU football head coach Brian Kelly shared his thoughts on Coach Saban retiring and what that means for the SEC.

Kelly had the following to say during his interview with Blake Toppmeyer of the Daily Advertiser:

Nick is certainly, to me, the bar, but it’s now the entire top end of the SEC. It’s Kirby Smart. It’s every school now in the SEC that you play, week in and week out. That challenge is still there when you play in the SEC.

I’m sorry to see Nick go. I think he represents what is good about college football, for me. But, look, I think everybody comes to a time and a place where they go, you know what, all the championships that he’s won, he can name his time and place.

For me, he wasn’t the singular reason that I came. I wanted the SEC challenge, and Nick was the face of that.

Kelly was also asked if Saban’s retirement would create any new opportunities for the LSU program.

Kalen DeBoer is an outstanding football coach. His success is real. They hired somebody that, I think, creates the same kind of expectations at Alabama. I don’t look for a vulnerability or an opportunity because Nick is gone. Certainly, his success is unprecedented, but I don’t think we walk around going, ‘Hey, hey, we got Alabama now.’ That’s a fine football coach and he’s put together a great staff, and they’ve got incredible resources through all the success they’ve had. I think more than anything else, it just allows us to stay much more focused on what we do and not have to worry about who’s outside.

Coach Kelly has always expressed his respect for Saban and the Alabama football program and appears to be doing the same with new Crimson Tide head coach Kalen DeBoer.

While the man wearing the headset may have changed, Coach Kelly’s respect has not.

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Story originally appeared on Roll Tide Wire