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Notebook: Brian Kelly Talks Jayden Daniels' Progression, Injury Update

LSU hitting their stride as strenuous SEC stretch inches closer, playmakers stepping up
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Brian Kelly hit on a number of subjects during his Monday press conference following the victory over New Mexico. Providing an injury update while praising his starting quarterback and his growth, it’s clear Kelly is pleased with the progression of his team.

The Tigers have been battling the injury bug and unavailability over the last few weeks, but as LSU begins their strenuous stretch of SEC games, it appears they’ll be near full strength come Saturday.

Here are a few takeaways from what Kelly had to say on Monday:

Injury Update

We saw Jayden Daniels leave Saturday’s game against New Mexico early with a lower back injury, but LSU’s signal-caller will be good to go in practice this week and ready to suit up against Auburn.

Along with Daniels, the Tigers saw both Jay Ward and Armoni Goodwin get banged up in their dominant effort against the Lobos. Kelly provided an update on the health of his players.

“Jayden [Daniels] is feeling no residual effects from Saturday,” Kelly said. “He’ll be able to practice. Jay Ward is a go for Tuesday. Armoni [Goodwin] is a day-to-day situation.”

READ MORE: An Early Look at LSU's Matchup Against Auburn 

LSU will also return Kayshon Boutte. Though the All-American wide receiver wasn’t injured, he was unavailable as he tended to a personal matter. He’ll return Saturday night at Auburn.

Jayden Daniels Progression

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The growth of Daniels over the first four games has been a bright spot for this program. Rather than tucking and running after going through his first or second read, we’ve seen the signal-caller be patient and go through all of his options.

Yes, he’s still using his legs to his advantage, but becoming less reliant on his wheels in order to keep his jersey clean has been key to LSU’s success. His head coach has been very complimentary of the growth he has made in a short span.

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“Decisiveness is starting to be part of the vocabulary instead of being hesitant, and that comes with knowledge of the offense,” Kelly said. “I think the other thing is that he has become a lot quicker in his setup. I think I mentioned his quick feet but slowing down and not rushing through progressions.”

“Those are the kind of things you’re looking for in terms of development of a quarterback and we’re starting to see that.”

Have the Tigers found their punt returner?

The short answer is yes. Despite playing against an inferior opponent in the New Mexico Lobos, LSU saw sophomore wide receiver Jack Bech be successful as the Tigers’ return guy. Kelly and his staff have flip flopped return men over the first few weeks, but Bech certainly looked the most comfortable out there.

"[Bech] is at his best when he is not worried about any factors other than competing and getting the ball in his hands, and it’s fun to watch, right? That’s just the kind of player he is,” Kelly said. “You can see what kind of impact he can have in our punt return game.”

READ MORE: Three Observations From LSU's Victory Over New Mexico 

It appears as though LSU has found their punt return specialist of the future. The Bayou Bengals will monitor his progression come SEC play, but for now, Bech looks to be the guy for Saturday night’s matchup against Auburn.