When Mike Bellotti took over as the Ducks head coach, he helped elevate the Oregon program to a new level. Unfortunately for the Ducks and Bellotti, his teams would often pull out a huge win, only to follow it up with a loss or bad game to a lesser opponent.
In 2007, Bellotti made one of his best moves and helped stabilize the Ducks program by hiring Chip Kelly to come and coach the offense. With this one decision, the future of the Ducks program completely changed.
After a couple of seasons as offensive coordinator, Kelly was given the opportunity to step in for Bellotti and take over as the Ducks' head man.
When Kelly came on board, he also brought with him a mantra of "Win the Day." While on the surface it appears that a saying or phrase only could do so much, this saying has appeared to change the way the Ducks play on a week in and week out basis.
Since Kelly took over in 2009 and instituted the "Win the Day" attitude, the Ducks have been able to remain focused in on their current opponent no matter who they are playing or how big the game may be.
The simple idea behind the belief is that the Ducks need to strive to win at every wind sprint, study session, scrimmage and then game. Winning the day is an attempt to remain focused on the task at hand, not looking forward a couple of weeks to a big game.
In the three years since Kelly has taken over, he has been able to keep his team so focused that the Ducks have not lost back-to-back games during any season. This attitude has kept his team sharp and focused and it's evident from the three-straight conference titles and three-straight BCS game appearances.
While the mantra is not everything at Oregon, Kelly has surrounded his players by this message and has truly been able to get them to buy into the message and its meaning.
Granted a message and phrase can only go so far but for now, the Ducks will remain focused on winning in the gym and weight room and continue to wait for fall practice to begin in August.
Love him or hate him, Kelly has brought a new way of thinking to the Oregon program and it may only be a matter of time before the Ducks are able to focus on winning the day that the national title game is being played on.
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