Brian Kelly’s message to Nick Saban and the rest of the SEC West isn’t something the Alabama head coach will appreciate — this, at least, according to Roll Tide Wire’s Sam Murphy.
Kelly told reporters after LSU’s spring game that no one is going to sneak up on the Tigers in the SEC West during the 2023 season.
“As I told them, no longer are we going to sneak up on anybody,” Kelly said on April 22. “We’re the SEC West champs. So everybody now has got their eye toward LSU, so make sure you take that into your training.”
According to Murphy, Kelly’s message “won’t sit well” with Saban.
“Kelly is now letting everyone know that the Tigers are the team to beat in the SEC West, not Alabama,” Murphy wrote. “Kelly won the division one time and now he thinks he’s the head honcho? That won’t sit well with Coach Saban.”
Brian Kelly Upset Nick Saban So Soon a Shocker: Analyst
Kelly had met Saban twice prior to becoming LSU’s head coach, losing by double digits during the 2013 BCS National Championship (42-14) and 2021 Rose Bowl (31-14), which served as one of that year’s College Football Playoff semifinals matchups. Because of Saban’s head-to-head dominance and the recruiting dominance his Crimson Tide have displayed over the past half-decade, Kelly upsetting the Alabama head coach was a massive shocker as Murphy relayed.
“At the helm of one of the best programs in the country, Kelly has access to recruits he never would have had at Notre Dame and a massive upgrade in facilities,” Murphy prefaced before saying, “With how good of a program they have in Baton Rouge, there was always a chance he was going to get the best of Saban, but we didn’t expect it to happen in the first season.”
Murphy predicts that the Crimson Tide locker room has a calendar with November 4 circled due to the impending opportunity for Saban to notch his first victory against a Kelly-coached LSU squad.
“Alabama and LSU will meet on Nov. 4 in Tuscaloosa, AL,” Murphy prefaced before saying, “I’m sure this date is circled in red pen after the devastating loss in 2022 and Kelly’s comments.”
Nick Saban on Alabama Transfer Portal Quarterback Addition
Saban explained on ESPN’s College Gameday ahead of the NFL draft on April 27 why Alabama added Notre Dame transfer portal entry Tyler Buchner to the Crimson Tide quarterback room — specifically citing a need for more competition in a group that lacked a standout during their April 22 A-Day spring game.
“Tyler was certainly a guy that was gonna be the starter last year at Notre Dame, got injured, played in the bowl game, played really well,” Saban said. “So we thought he would add a lot of competition, and we think he’s got the right kind of character and attitude to be a positive influence on our team.”
Buchner’s final game with Notre Dame indicates boom or bust potential. Against South Carolina in the Gator Bowl on December 30, Buchner threw for 273 yards on 18/33, three passing touchdowns, three interceptions, and two rushing touchdowns on 12 rushes for 61 yards.
Saban clearly saw enough boom to bring Buchner into the QB room.