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“He can look at a team _ and I don’t know how he does it, I’m trying to figure it out because I want that ability _ but he can look at a team and he can say, ‘This is what this team needs,’” Taylor said about Chizik. “He came in before the season started and said, ‘This year we’re going from good to great.’”

It’s the Southeastern Conference, so there will always be skeptics, but it’s safe to say many of the doubters have changed their tune about Chizik.

Kelly’s arrival at Oregon was not nearly as volatile.

Then-Ducks coach Mike Bellotti, on the recommendation of former Oregon offensive coordinator Gary Crowton, hired Kelly in 2007 away from New Hampshire, an FCS program where he had been running the offense.

Kelly’s lightning-tempo spread was an immediate hit, setting Oregon records for points and total yards.

After the 2008 season, Bellotti stepped aside to become full-time athletic director at Oregon and Kelly was promoted. He inherited a staff with five coaches who had been at Oregon for more than 20 years, including strength and conditioning coach Jim Radcliffe.

Radcliffe said when Kelly first arrived in Eugene he was “hard to read.”

After becoming head coach, Kelly won over his staff by asking questions and listening to the answers.

“He’s kind of an outside-the-box thinker,” Radcliffe said. “He said if you were to change something (about) how we do things what would you do. He was asking me those questions and other people those questions then he. And he would say, ‘OK I think we should go that way,’ which is different from normal football coaches.”

While Chizik has restored his reputation as a coach in two years at Auburn, the 47-year-old Kelly has zoomed to genius status with the Ducks, following up a 10-3 season with a 12-0 one.

Outwardly, they couldn’t seem more different.

During media day Thursday, Chizik spent his 30 minutes at the podium answering questions with a heavy dose of coachspeak and cliches.

Kelly, a New Hampshire native with a passion for books about motivation, spent a good portion of his time rattling off sarcastic one-liners and quips. He talks about as fast as his team plays.

Asked if he had to pinch himself every once in a while to know that his whirlwind rise to the top of his profession was real, Kelly responded: “I am not a pinch myself kind of guy.”

Asked about the high prices being paid by some fans for tickets to the big game, Kelly said: “I’m unaware of the ticket prices. I don’t have to pay for mine.”

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