Elko ‘still playing catch-up’ after Texas A&M hire

  • Chris Low, ESPN Elder WriterApr 19, 2024, 06:09 PM ET


    • College football press reporter
    • Signed up with ESPN.com in 2007
    • Graduate of the University of Tennessee

COLLEGE STATION, Texas– On the eve of his very first spring football game as Texas A&M’s head coach, Mike Elko is recently catching his breath after what has been a whirlwind past four months.

“It’s gone from possibly a ship going a hundred miles an hour in the middle of a tidal wave to just a ship going a hundred miles an hour,” Elko joked Friday. “I believe we’ve steadied our own structure. It does not feel almost as rocky as it did when I got here, but you’re still in a world where things are swirling around at a very fast lane and altering rapidly, and so to try and stay up to date with that, you’re still playing catch-up.”

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A fast refresher: Elko went to sleep on the Saturday of Thanksgiving weekend in 2015 with Texas A&M no place on his radar. But then all hell broke loose. Texas A&M’s negotiations with Kentucky’s Mark Stoops broke down. The Aggies turned their attention to Elko, who almost chose to stay at Duke as the Texas A&M aircraft waited at the airport for several hours to bring him to College Station. All the while, the transfer website was days away from opening.A bit more than a month later on, the athletic director who hired Elko at Texas A&M, Ross Bjork, took the task at Ohio State, and previous Nebraska All-American Trev Alberts left his alma mater to end up being Elko’s employer at Texas A&M.”Seems like a lot, and it was,”Elko said.”But I’m here because of what this place can become. The ceiling for Texas A&M if you get it ideal is a challenge I felt deserved taking since I have actually seen it at the greatest of highs and understand what that appears like relative to the rest of the college football landscape.”We just need to find a way to regularly get there, and I think

I understand the place well enough to kind of create a vision and a course to do that. “Elko was Jimbo Fisher’s protective organizer for four years at Texas A&M before taking the Duke head task in 2022. An Ivy League graduate at Penn, Elko has actually run the coaching gamut and seen it from all angles, from his time with Dave Clawson at Fordham, Richmond, Bowling Green and Wake Forest to training at Notre Dame for a season under Brian Kelly and now at a location that just paid $77 million to Elko’s previous employer (Fisher )to go away.What Alberts has seen this spring is a coach who’s grounded and knows precisely what he registered for in taking control of at a school that has unrestricted resources and a wild fan base, however hasn’t won a championship game of any kind considering that 1998 and has never ever played in the SEC national championship.”The important things about Mike is getting the ideal people in the ideal seats, and we go to work together with a little humility,

“Alberts said.”There are a great deal of clever coaches. There are a lot of hardworking coaches. However when you put all the qualities together of intelligence, tactical vision, work principles, discipline and humility, there’s not a great deal of them.” As Elko studies his spring lineup, he stated the Aggies will continue to seek to” add worth”and not just plug holes in the transfer portal, especially at the ability positions. “Aside from the abnormality of a defense having eight first-rounders, that’s where you win in this league, getting that group of elite ability players together,”Elko said.And while some larger names from the extremely ranked 2022 signing class left Texas A&M after this previous season, Elko is far more ecstatic about the players the Aggies got or hung on to instead of those they lost.”From the time I got worked with until the time the website closed, I seemed like we saved method more kids than we lost,”Elko stated. “I know that the public perception was concentrated on other things.

However when I got here, there were a lot of kids who are going to start this succumb to us that were on their escape the door and we had the ability to keep them and get them to buy into where we wanted this thing to go. “So, if anything, it felt like a huge win in terms of who left and who stayed from my viewpoint.” Amongst those: protective linemen Shemar Turner and DJ Hicks, linebacker Taurean York and protective backs Bryce

Anderson and Tyreek Chappell. What’s more, the Aggies had the ability to add the Huge Ten’s leading pass-rusher from a year ago

, Purdue transfer Nic Scourton.From simply a football perspective, Elko never truly doubted that Texas A&M was the ideal move. But he likewise has a household, and this will be his eighth very first year with a training staff. “I joked with somebody that needs to be

a record, “he said.Most crucial to Elko was that his family was on board with another move, which’s never easy.” You get up Sunday morning and all of an unexpected now you’re making a life choice that you had no anticipation you were going to make, “Elko stated.”It probably took the level of that whole day before we as a family genuinely concerned grips with this was the best thing for our future. “There’s no debate in Aggieland what’s anticipated in that future.”I want a place where the ceiling is the championship game, and in order to have that, you require an exceptionally passionate fan base. There are things that occur with that, but I’ll take it,”Elko stated.”

I’ll take the place where if we get this right and we do this right, we win the whole thing.”

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