Oregon head coach Mario Cristobal is hoping to get the Ducks back to competing for national championships like they were under Chip Kelly.

The second-year head coach finished 9-4 in 2018, and to help build his program for continued success, Cristobal and his staff visited two SEC schools this spring: Alabama and Georgia, according to ESPN.

The Tide and Bulldogs are certainly two powerhouse programs with massive brands, and Cristobal is trying to take the great from each and apply it to his own program.

So this spring, Cristobal and his staff went to Alabama and Georgia to take a deep dive into the DNA of two programs operating at the highest level in the sport to see how Oregon compared.

Cristobal soaked up the practices, meetings and atmosphere with Nick Saban and Kirby Smart like a giant sponge. He studied the bodies, movement and speed of the SEC athletes in Tuscaloosa and Athens, silently comparing them to the physical makeup of his own team.

Interestingly, when Oregon was great under Kelly, they were just faster than everyone in its conference. When you think of Alabama and Georgia (run-heavy power football), you think the complete opposite of Oregon (spread-em-out and gash you). Of course, we’ve seen Alabama’s offense morph into more a spread offense lately.

Cristobal came away from visiting Alabama and Georgia with a hopeful thought.

“We’ve closed the gap considerably,” Cristobal told ESPN. “We have gained so much ground toward what we want to be.”

We’ll know right out of the gate what kind of team Oregon is after facing Auburn to open the season.

Does anyone else find it ironic that while trying to build his team like an SEC program, he visited the Tigers two biggest rivals in the process?