‘A whirlwind of legendary percentage’: Overtaking new Texas

  • Pete Thamel, ESPNFeb 23, 2024, 11:00 AM ET COLLEGE STATION, Texas– As Mike Elko settles in at Texas A&M, he’s familiar with all of the untapped capacity. He saw the promise as the Aggies’ defensive organizer on an Orange Bowl-winning team in 2020, and he has actually seen up close why unlocking that full potential stays tantalizing.Not just has Texas

    A&M never ever reached the College Football Playoff, it has not won a conference title since 1998. It has actually stopped working to reach the SEC championship game considering that joining the conference in 2012. In the wake of Elko’s exceptional revival of Duke in his 2 seasons there (17-9 after the group went 5-18 in the 2 years before his arrival), this concern looms over College Station: Can Elko’s experience with both the power and the flaws of Texas A&M assist open the potential?He sat down with ESPN last month to discuss his tenure so far.ESPN: What have the very first couple of months been like?Elko: A whirlwind of legendary proportion. I do not understand that you can explain taking a job on the day that the

    website window opens, two weeks before signing day with no personnel, right? Attempting to put all of that together into a puzzle, right? So yeah, I mean, it’s a lot, and you have actually got to be actually patient and put it together the method you think in and get it going where you want it to go.Editor’s Picks 1 Related ESPN: If you recall at the last two coaches at Texas A&M, there’s a case that neither built a strong structure. There have been

bursts of momentum but not a great deal of consistency. What is it going to require to build a structure here and go from there?Elko: I think it begins with good people. That’s where every foundational program starts, is getting the ideal people, therefore it starts with the right people on this floor of training.

It begins with the right individuals in this building from an assistance staff, analytical function from the people in your strength and the conditioning department, and then you have actually got to build culture within your locker room. I think that’s a foundation that a great deal of individuals lose sight of, right? This place has incredible center foundation, however within that, you still have to construct a fundamental core of who your program is going to be about.ESPN: What lessons do you draw from your last stint here?Elko: The distinct spot that I have sitting here for 4 years [as defensive coordinator] is I know all of the reasons this location can win a national championship, and after that I probably understand a few of the reasons why we failed,

which I believe provides me a special point of view coming in. I can be found in with a lot more knowledge of what Texas A&M is everything about. That can just help, and I simply believe we have actually got to be smart about how we go about developing this location since it’s a location where it has high expectations and you need to win now for sure, however you have actually got to still focus on constructing it in such a way that permits you to sustain the success that you have for long periods of time.ESPN: We are a long method from kickoff, however what can we anticipate from Texas A&M this year?Elko: I believe you’re going to see a group that’s willing to play for each other and play for this university. I believe you’re going to see a team that plays with a dreadful lot of grit and durability. I believe those have actually been what you have actually seen from any defense that I have actually coached in the last two years at Duke. It’s certainly what you saw, and I believe we’re going to go to work to make that the product, and I think our fans are going to like coming out and supporting this team and how they conduct themselves and how they set about playing game.ESPN: Just how much did you learn in those 2 years at Duke? You have been at a great deal of places, obviously, and a lot of various kinds of locations, however there’s absolutely nothing like being in the chair.Elko: You just find out how to be the CEO of the football program. You can do all the preparation you desire, up until you get in the chair and you feel what it’s truly like to have whatever around the

program involved in the decision-makings. You have to take part of comprehending that you are accountable for whatever from overseeing ticket sales to everything. You got to have your

hand in every piece of the program. You can’t measure that when you’re a protective planner. Therefore I think simply getting an understanding of what all of it looks like, how to put everything together. We definitely had a lot of success at Duke, but we definitely recall at 2 years and state there’s a lot of locations we could have done it much better and we might have fixed some things or done some things various. AP Photo/Sam Craft ESPN: You talked a bit about a few of the intangibles of what you desire in your identity. What about on the field? You have an established quarterback in Conner Weigman, which is a huge piece of that entire thing.Elko: So Conner’s distinct, so I actually recruited the Cypress (Texas)location, which is where Conner comes from.

And after that undoubtedly everybody knows Conner was a remarkable baseball player from out of high school, and he was always in the very same company as my son [who plays at Richmond] And as the years went on, Michael actually kind of played with him

a number of times towards completion of the profession, but it was just constantly a name. He constantly understood Conner. Conner was a kid that sort of was that big fish in Texas on the ball park and on the football field. So it’s come cycle to get a possibility to coach him for lastly a year or two.ESPN: One of your huge gets is Collin Klein as offensive coordinator. Clearly he and Conner are going to be linked together at the hip this next year. Once again, it’s extremely early, however what’s that resembled so far?Elko: I think initially, it’s having Collin Klein, who is one of the brightest young minds in all of college football today, and definitely a guy that played the position in an incredibly high level and did it from a toughness standpoint at an incredibly high level. And I think all of that commands a certain level of regard. And so you announced Collin as the OC and all of an abrupt Conner’s up here 12 hours later on and he wants to speak to him. And so you

see those guys beginning to satisfy and develop those relationships. And we also have two other quarterbacks, Jaylen Henderson and Marcel Reed, who are also extremely skilled and we began seeing those guys occur. Therefore that [quarterback] space implies everything, right? Everyone understands this, from NFL to college football. Your capability to develop and play at a high level at quarterback is what helps win and lose football games. I think that’s entering a really great direction.ESPN: A lot has been made about who has actually left this offseason. But something that was clear in the recruitment of a great deal of those guys are the resources that are here. Stroll me through a little bit of what you believe is available here for you to possibly construct an elite SEC roster.Elko: I believe you take a look at a location that’s spent practically a billion dollars in centers remodellings in the last ten years. I think you take a look at a location that beings in the most talent-rich state in the whole nation,

type of right in between 2 of the most talent-producing cities in the entire country in Dallas and Houston. So I think you have whatever that you could ever desire and require to develop a championship-level program. I believe we simply, I informed this to our team when I consulted with them the

very first time, we know what we’re capable of, but we also got to understand where we are and that there’s a great deal of work to obtain from where we are to where we’re capable of being.ESPN: This recognizes territory for the Elko crew. Where did you all go to eat when everybody came back?Elko: First place we went to consume was the Walk-On’s. We type of sneaked into a back corner of Walk-On’s and yeah, had an actually good meal.ESPN: Lot of new-coach optimism here. What can this place become?Elko: I believe in the modern day of college football, this is among the locations that has an opportunity to be at the top of the game, and there’s very few locations that have all of the structure and haven’t done it yet. Therefore I think to some degree there’s places distinctively special and that somebody’s

going get in here, some group of players, some group of coaches, and do this right, actually for the very first time in the contemporary age of

college football. I’m thrilled to be part of that for sure. And I think there’s going to be a lot of people that buy into that story.ESPN: Great deal of folks will be focusing immediately with Notre Dame coming as the opener.Elko: Clearly, all of the ironies

that enter that. Both from my time at Notre Dame, and obviously there’s a quarterback over there that I’m fairly knowledgeable about. [Former Duke QB Riley Leonard transferred to Notre Dame this offseason.] But I think you come back to a location like this for those types of opportunities and those types of stages, which ‘d undoubtedly be a fantastic opening game for us and certainly an obstacle we look forward to.

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