Malik Nabers lay completely horizontal with his facemask implanted into the Superdome turf and his hands by his head. Rising to his feet Sunday night must’ve felt like a far away task. He was the guy who dropped and lost two punts, the wide receiver who — seemingly — cost LSU the football game.
But then his teammates picked him up, forcefully grabbing him and dragging him along to the sideline. By the time Florida State fumbled the ball back to LSU for one last chance to move nearly the entire field to tie the score, veteran LSU receiver Jaray Jenkins went to Nabers.
“We need you,” he said.
“I know, bruh,” Nabers responded. “I got you.”
And at Nabers’ lowest moment, LSU went right back to him. It hit the sophomore for a 7-yard catch. Then it went to him again, another short completion to a receiver nobody else in Louisiana had any trust in. The Tigers went 99 yards downfield for a touchdown that would have been the storyline if not for a blocked extra point.
To understand how LSU coach Brian Kelly is handling LSU’s loss to Florida State and the big picture of this rebuild, start with this moment of going back to Nabers. Because this is how Kelly has handled the entire team, all of its issues and mistakes and needs for improvement.
To not overreact at all. To trust the process.
“It’s still the same,” Jenkins said of Kelly the past few days. “There’s no reason to change anything up, so that’s his message, ‘We’re going to stick to the process no matter if we’re coming from a win or loss.’ We’re just going to stay the course.”