I think LSU football made a great move by hiring Brian Kelly to replace Ed Orgeron as the Tigers’ head coach.
Kelly is a proven head coach who can absolutely get LSU back to the College Football Playoff. He’ll have more resources at LSU than he’s ever had before in his coaching career.
It’s a perfect match — even if Kelly isn’t necessarily a perfect cultural fit (neither was Nick Saban or Les Miles and they both won championships in Baton Rouge).
But all of that doesn’t mean Kelly is without fault. Every coach makes mistakes. And I think Kelly made one right off the bat at LSU.
Brian Kelly is going to regret hiring Mike Denbrock as LSU football’s offensive coordinator
I don’t love Kelly’s decision to hire Mike Denbrock away from Cincinnati to serve as the Tigers’ offensive coordinator.
Kelly made a lot of bold hires with his staff — hiring a lot of guys he had never worked with before. But hiring Denbrock feels like he just did his old friend a favor.
Kelly and Denbrock have a long history together — they’ve coached together off and on for 30 years.
The biggest red flag is that Kelly once stripped Denbrock of play-calling duties at Notre Dame.
What makes us think that Denbrock, who just turned 58, is a better offensive coordinator now than he was six or seven years ago at Notre Dame?
With college football changing and trending toward younger, innovative offensive coordinators, why would Kelly hire a retread like Denbrock to lead what should be one of the most high-powered offenses in the nation?
There were plenty of options out there. Kelly could’ve tried to bring Joe Brady back to LSU. Or he could’ve hired a young offensive mind with NFL experience (like Mark Stoops keeps doing at Kentucky…and it’s working for the Wildcats).
I think Kelly is going to regret this move. It’s probably going to go just like it did at Notre Dame. After the 2022 season, Kelly will strip Denbrock of play-calling duties and go after an assistant that has fresh ideas. We’ve already seen how this plays out.
Kelly made a mistake. But that doesn’t mean he’s doomed at LSU. He’ll just have to correct his mistake after his first season.