'Building consistency': Kelly, LSU still in climbing phase

LSU's Kelly identifies keys to second-year success (2:33)

On "SEC Now," Brian Kelly describes the utilization of tight ends in the Tigers' offensive schemes while highlighting the positive influence of a consistent staff. (2:33)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- LSU defensive lineman Mekhi Wingo and running back Josh Williams both delivered the same pointed message about the Tigers entering this season: "We're coming."

But LSU coach Brian Kelly tamped down runaway expectations Monday at SEC media days.

"They're coming," he told ESPN, "but I don't know that they're there yet."

The Tigers surprised many by going 10-4 in Kelly's first season in charge, including an overtime win over rival Alabama. But they followed that signature victory with a close call at Arkansas and losses to Texas A&M and Georgia.

LSU defeated Purdue handily in the Citrus Bowl to close out the season.

Entering this season, expectations are even greater.

But Kelly said he came to LSU knowing that would always be the case, whether it was Year 2 or Year 3.

Kelly referenced LSU women's basketball coach Kim Mulkey and LSU baseball coach Jay Johnson recently winning national championships.

"The bar is set that you're playing for championships," Kelly said. "But, again, that's why I took the job."

Kelly said the key is consistency.

"There's two programs that are a model of that. It's Georgia and Alabama," he said. "We're new to that. And one of the reasons why I'm in this position is that there wasn't consistency. So, building consistency, you've got to do it more than just one year. You've got to do it year in and year out. We're not there yet."

Kelly cited the roughly dozen transfers they brought in via the portal this offseason as evidence that the roster is not fully formed yet.

"That's the first indication you're not there yet, but we're coming," he said. "We're getting better, we have better depth. I think there's a great sense that you can develop in this program. I think that's why [backup quarterback] Garrett Nussmeier stayed and didn't enter the transfer portal. He feels like he's going to be developed.

"So, all those things point towards a program that there's players that believe that they can be developed and can play for championships. And there's a fan base that believes, that believes that can happen as well."

Wingo said the standard doesn't change from year to year.

"That's to win a national championship," he said. "But we just have to get to a point where everyone in the locker room understands that is the standard, and that is going to take us working hard day by day and taking it game by game to ultimately achieve that goal."

Wingo, who ranked second on the team in tackles for loss (six), said the end of last season taught the Tigers a valuable lesson about getting "too comfortable."

"We learned that you can't lose focus, you know, can't get tired of doing the right thing over and over, can't take any opponent lightly," he said. "Towards the end of the year, games are going to get tougher, your body's going to be tired. You have to take those extra steps in taking care of your body and push through it."

LSU opens against Florida State in Orlando on Sept. 3.