Entering the 2022 college football season, few coaches are under the microscope as much as Brian Kelly. LSU Football won the national title in 2019. Two years later, it fired its coach, Ed Orgeron. Kelly then left Notre Dame for Baton Rouge. This instantly made the LSU football 2022 season one of the most fascinating journeys in the history of the program. Here’s an LSU football preseason piece which lays out the central question facing this team.

5) Will the defensive line throw its weight around?

Late in the 2021 season, LSU’s defensive front, which had been poor in the first few months of the season, dramatically improved. That defensive line contained Bryce Young and the Alabama offense in a road game in Tuscaloosa. The performance was certainly a welcome development, but it also raised the obvious question: Where was that effort and quality in September and early October? The LSU football preseason outlook will be shaped by a number of developments. One of them certainly has to apply to the defensive front, because if the consistent weekly standard of the 2022 defense is not markedly better than the subpar 2021 standard, this team is in a heap of trouble.

4) Will player development improve?

Ed Orgeron admitted LSU was very predictable in an extraordinary press conference midway through last season. He acknowledged that his coaching staff was not paying attention to the details. Schematically, there’s very little question that Brian Kelly will do better than Coach O. Kelly’s track record of consistent success at Notre Dame makes it very hard to believe that LSU preseason camp will be a waste of time. Kelly should install a scheme which makes sense for his players. However, even if the scheme is better, the player development piece is more of a question if only because that aspect of coaching was so deeply neglected in 2021. Last year’s coaching staff was so sloppy that the LSU football 2022 staff has to be 100 times better in order to get the results it wants. Being merely slightly better — five times better or 10 times better — won’t be enough. 

3) Will Brian Kelly get full buy-in from his players?

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The world of Notre Dame is unlike LSU and most other college football programs. The culture is unique and the history is special. We recall seeing Brian Kelly get purple-faced with rage with Notre Dame players over the years. Yet, he still got buy-in from his athletes. There were exceptions, but only occasional ones. Will Kelly’s coaching style go down smoothly in Baton Rouge? Will this roster be receptive to his methods, at camp and then in the 2022 season? That’s an open question.

2) Will LSU football hold its own against an SEC schedule?

Brian Kelly is an accomplished coach, and to be clear, not just anyone can win at Notre Dame. Kelly did. However, even though Kelly performed well in South Bend, the reality of Notre Dame’s independent status meant the Fighting Irish could play Navy and Virginia and Syracuse in addition to Clemson and Georgia and USC. Being independent meant Notre Dame could hand-select its schedule and insert easier games at various points on the calendar. An SEC schedule won’t offer quite as many chances for respite and relief. How will LSU, under Kelly, handle the SEC West gauntlet?

1) Will the quarterback duel produce a best-case outcome?

The decision of Jayden Daniels to transfer from Arizona State to LSU was a very curious development in the 2022 college football offseason. Myles Brennan was going to have a great chance to be the Tigers’ starting quarterback. Daniels could have transferred to a program where there was not going to be a fierce battle for a starting quarterback job, but instead, he wanted a quarterback battle. Now we get to see who will win and lead the Tigers into their biggest games of the season. LSU needs elite quarterback play in 2022. Which man will get the first big chance to become a hero in Baton Rouge?