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This Is Happening

Cognitive Dissonance And You!

Hey guys, name is Adam.

-Hi, Adam.

And I’m a Brian Kelly hater.

LSU started preseason practice today, which means my days of trying to cope with the fact that Brian Kelly is LSU’s head football coach must come to an end. The season will be starting soon, and Brian Kelly will be on LSU’s sideline.

Of all the coaches in college football to hire, Brian freaking Kelly. I suppose there are (were?) worse options, such as two peoples whose names I dare not mention, one because it violates common decency laws and the other before he 100% searches for his name. But regardless, one of the most dislikable people in the college football zeitgeist - which is saying something - is now the head football coach at my alma mater.

But as the slow march of time continues its dominant streak of never yielding, I’m starting to realize something more and more: I’m not exactly sure why I don’t like Brian Kelly.

Now at this point, I know what you’re saying or thinking or angrily typing down in the comments. I’m thinking it too. I’m not going to defend what happened or stick my head in the sand. A student worker died under Brian Kelly’s watch. But at the end of the day there wasn’t any malice or cruel intent behind it. Negligence, maybe. It was an unfortunate accident, but an accident nonetheless.

Besides, let’s not forget how Zach Mettenberger wound up at LSU or the reports of the last three years surrounding LSU athletics. Or how LSU welcomes Karl Malone with open arms to campus to watch his son play with nary a word about his past.

Now, why don’t I like Brian Kelly? Because he yells a lot and is the coach at Notre Dame? I haven’t been able to really nail down a solid reason. Maybe reinforced biases from my silly little echo chamber got the better of me and colored my perceptions.

Then he stood on the floor of the PMAC and said one word. Well it was really closer to three words: fam uh lee.

And then it really dawned on me. Two years after putting together the best season in the sport’s history with a native son, we had a Boston by way of Indiana man at the helm. We went from somebody literally from South Lafourche to a yankee who tried to put on a southern accent like a Chris Farley putting on David Spade’s coat.

As somebody with as much state pride as I have, it hurt my ego badly to make such a sudden whiplash between the two polarities. And that’s not a defense of Orgeron, just the mental reforming I have to make as a fan who in 2017 was over the moon for the move to Coach O and then rode that high two years later.

This also allows me to realize why I wanted Billy Napier so badly. While not a native son, we could easily say that he has spent enough time south of Marksville to say that he was effectively one of us, and the work he performed at the three-letter school across the basin was enough for us to throw out weight behind him and say that it was the person who was the error and not the concept of a Louisiana-built head coach.

To be honest, I still think this has potential to be the worst decision in LSU athletics history. I hope I’m wrong.

So all told, I don’t like Brian Kelly being the head coach at my alma mater because he’s not from here. Generally speaking, that’s a poor excuse for not liking a head coach considering the best coach in the history of the sport (and the school) came from West Virginia and built a dynasty in Alabama. Wait, actually those aren’t wholly dissimilar places...

And here’s the thing: Brian Kelly will win football games. Maybe not so many this year, but he will win. He’s won everywhere he’s been; it’ll be hard to imagine that the streak will stop at the school where each of the past three coaches have won a national championship. And we’re already seeing some gains in recruiting, though my ego would like to see a greater rate of retention of in-state talent.

I wish I could enter in a covenant with Kelly, but the truth is that Is that I have no say in the matter. He’s the head coach at LSU whether I like it or not and there’s nothing I can do about it. It’s not the hire I would have made, but the truth is that this honestly the highest ceiling the LSU football program has ever had in its storied history.

So I’m taking a vow to put my prejudices aside and give Brian Kelly a chance. Through gritted teeth, but a chance nonetheless. I’m in, let’s see what happens.

Just don’t lose to Florida. Or say fam uh lee again.

So give me a line and take me home

Take me over

We’re dashing the hopes, dashing the hopes

And smashing the pride

The morning’s got you on the ropes.