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Brunch with Brian: Army

Closing the book on Auburn, looking ahead to Army

NCAA Football: Auburn at Louisiana State Matthew Hinton-USA TODAY Sports

While the rest of us might look at Saturday as a pseudo bye week, Brian Kelly and his Tiger football team are gearing up for a game against Army (6:30 P.M., SEC Network).

“We’re excited about hosting Army,” Kelly said in his press conference Monday. “Anytime you play a service academy, the respect that we have for the academies and certainly the great leaders that are playing collegiate football, to have them and host them here at Tiger Stadium is a thrill.”

“We want to be able to honor that, but we also want to beat them,” Kelly said. “They’re a good football team, well coached, Jeff Monken is a heck of a football coach, comes from a great family of coaches. I know him well, I respect him as a football coach. His team will be well prepared.”

In previewing his own team, Kelly provided health updates to a pair of key pieces along LSU’s offensive and defensive front: right tackle Emory Jones and defensive tackle Mekhi Wingo.

Kelly is listing both players as doubtful for Saturday night. Wingo has been battling a lower body injury all season long, while Jones sprained his right ankle against Auburn.

“We’ve got two guys that are doubtful for this weekend,” Kelly said. “That’s Emory Jones and Mekhi Wingo. They’ll be listed as doubtful. We’ll see how they progress throughout the week.”

“We think it’s an injury that can be managed quickly well,” Kelly said. “And we’ll have him back. As we look at this, from an injury standpoint, we’re always going to be deliberate and making sure these guys are 100% moving forward as we get into the year.”

LSU almost definitely won’t need Wingo or Jones to beat Army Saturday, and with the bye week coming up, expect both players to get rested up for the Alabama game on November 4th.

While Jones and Wingo probably aren’t playing, wide receiver Chris Hilton is being listed as probable for the Army game.

Kelly also talked about his defense, who showed some signs of improvement against Auburn last weekend.

“We’re playing more consistent defense and it’s not just one. It’s 11 guys knowing their roles and I’ve talked about this a couple of times. When the structure of the defense is in place and everybody knows their role within the defense, you start to get complementary defense,” Kelly said. “Allows 11 guys to play together. We didn’t do a great job of that early on and part of that was trying to find roles for guys not knowing what the best lineup looks like. Establishing what that looks like has allowed us to build that kind of consistency.”