Random Thoughts on Mike Elko Hire

Duke University will formally introduce the new head football coach, Mike Elko, to the media tomorrow. Here are some random thoughts and observations on his hiring.

  • Texas A&M had an incredible defense under his leadership as did Notre Dame. The last time Duke had a defensive-minded head coach was the Mike McGee era. Some may argue Ted Roof, but he had limited success on that side of the ball while in Durham.
  • Elko was a well-liked and successful coach at his most recent jobs with Texas A&M and Notre Dame. In searching the web, it is clear that most of the comments about his departure from each school were highly positive. In fact, many fans were upset at losing his coaching ability but were understanding of him moving on.
  • His ties to Wake Forest give him a good idea of what ACC football is about. He also coached quite a bit under the current Deacon HC Dave Clawson.
  • People will pay close attention to who he hires as offensive coordinator. The offense became stale in the last three years under then-coach David Cutcliffe and the fanbase is looking for the schemes to be blown up and start fresh.
  • Elko will at some point talk with the current staff in-depth where he either retains some or moves on with his personnel.
  • Wednesday is the early signing period but there is time to possibly add some newcomers as well as see some open their recruitments back up.
  • Duke is almost forced to work the transfer market due to departures. This is not an easy task at Duke due to academic standards. Duke needs help at running back, a playmaker at wideout, the center spot, some pass rushers up front on defense and a couple of secondary guys. That is a pretty long list.
  • Elko has a son that recently signed an LOI to attend Northwestern on a baseball scholarship. One cannot help but wonder if they realize what a great program Duke has and if he may end up in Durham one day.
  • I noticed some fans putting themself into Nina King's timeline towards the end of the Cut-era. Firstly, that is never a great idea and secondly, she has now hired Jon Scheyer and Mike Elko from an SEC powerhouse, so those who were worrying should take notice.
  • Mike Elko was born in New Jersey and attended an Ivy League school in Penn where he later coached. Duke has not been recruiting the northeast in the past decade, so it will be interesting if he opens things up again.
  • I wonder if he will try to recruit in the state of North Carolina a bit more. This is something I have always felt was important despite the difficulties. Cutcliffe got away from it a bit despite having the most success when more kids from the state were rostered.
  • I think Duke did well hiring Elko. He didn't come here to lose, folks. He did not come here to end his career taking on a tough rebuilding situation. He knows what needs to happen for success to take place and he must be allowed some patience as the cupboard is not stocked quite yet.
  • Elko will start his career versus Temple on September 3rd on Brooks Field in Wallace Wade Stadium. Kickoff times will be announced at a later date. Duke will also travel to Big Ten country to take on Northwestern and at Kansas next September with one more out of conference game to be added to the schedule.
  • The one thing we will all hear tomorrow is his vision for Duke football. Considering I have been around since Tom Harp to now, it will be interesting to see another era get underway in Durham.