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James was suspended for the opener after pleading guilty to misdemeanor harassment for an altercation with his ex-girlfriend _ but Kelly maintained that James was both honest and contrite about what had transpired.

Just as he had after Blount and the punch, Kelly had his team focused on moving forward in fall camp. The ability to reign in his team and shut out distractions has become one of his trademarks.

This season’s Ducks have fully bought into Kelly’s “Win The Day” philosophy. The motto is the last thing the players see above them as they emerge from the tunnel onto the field at Autzen Stadium. The acronym “WTD” graces the four corners of the stadium. And it will be written on the team’s helmets in the national championship game.

Oregon reached No. 1 in the nation for the first time in school history and Kelly has become college football’s genius du jour. While plenty of teams are pushing the pace at which they play offensively, nobody does it as well and as quickly as the Ducks.

“Our vision is we want to play fast. We want to play hard. We want to finish,” he said.

The Ducks led the nation in scoring during the regular season with 49.3 points per game. They were second in total offense with an average of 537.50 yards a game.

Kelly was named the Pac-10 Coach of the Year and won the Eddie Robinson coach of the year award from the Football Writers Association of America.

Kelly, 47, has a gruff exterior in those drive-by halftime interviews on television. A native of Manchester, N.H., his wry and dry wit rarely makes catchy sound bites. At times it seems as if he fell right off the set of one of those Ben Affleck movies based in the Boston area.

He isn’t much for talking about himself or deep analysis.

Asked recently what reaching the national championship game meant to him personally, just a few years removed from his first big break, Kelly wasn’t much for being reflective.

“I never really think of it that way,” he said. “I have a job. I love my job. I love to get up every morning and do it.”