SEC News: Brian Kelly still hasn't learned his lesson with Harold Perkins

The LSU coach seems intent on making the same mistake over and over again with his defensive star.

Nov 4, 2023; Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback Jalen Milroe (4) scrambles
Nov 4, 2023; Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback Jalen Milroe (4) scrambles / John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports
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SEC News: Brian Kelly and LSU seem intent on schematically misusing Harold Perkins

Well, it looks like Brian Kelly still hasn't learned his lesson about how to use his star linebacker.

After a breakout back half of his freshman season, the future looked bright for former Texas A&M football commit-turned-LSU-Tiger Harold Perkins. And "breakout" might be underselling it—he looked so good coming off the edge that he had ESPN ranking him as the fourth best player in the sport headed into the following season.

This was including a game against Texas A&M football where the only statistic he registered was his grand total of two combined tackles—Jimbo's last and greatest trick, some (me) have said! Even so, ESPN and many others were completely gaga over his pass-rushing ability.

You can imagine the furrowed brows in Red Stick, then, when it was announced before the 2023 season that Perkins would be played at inside linebacker. Why move him away from where he was so dominant last season?

Predictably, this was not a good move. Perkins moved back midseason, but it wasn't quite enough: his cumulative statistics from his freshman year (where he really only started to emerge in the back half) and his sophomore year look almost the exact same. He registered two more total tackles, two fewer sacks, and the same number of TFLs and forced fumbles in his sophomore campaign compared to his first year.

Lesson learned, right? Wrong.

This has got to feel like Groundhog Day for LSU fans. Why can't Kelly simply understand that Perkins is not as effective there?

For my money, this has everything to do with his stature. Perkins is listed at 6'1", 220 LBs. That doesn't exactly scream "NFL edge player." Micah Parsons is extremely dominant at times, but he's 6'2" and 244 LBs—and there's a groundswell behind the idea that most of his statistics coming in the first part of the year has to do with his body wearing down over the course of the season.

So, will Perkins playing at ILB help his NFL future? Probably, though he doesn't exactly project to the 100th percentile in measurables there, either. Will it make the LSU defense better than if he played edge rusher? Absolutely not, and it's hilarious that the coach is pretending otherwise.

At least Kelly has the privilege of doing something like this on what was a highly-acclaimed defensive unit that is returning a lot of talent. You can afford to make some changes when—wait a minute. I've just been informed of something.

Tiger fans... y'all might be in trouble.

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