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Duke Closing In On David Cutcliffe’s Replacement?

The search has apparently narrowed considerably

Georgia Tech v Clemson
CLEMSON, SOUTH CAROLINA - SEPTEMBER 18: Clemson Tigers offensive coordinator Tony Elliott looks on during warm ups before their game against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at Clemson Memorial Stadium on September 18, 2021 in Clemson, South Carolina.
Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images

The early National Signing Day for football is next week and Duke may find their next football coach by then.

According to Steve Wiseman, the two leading candidates are Clemson’s offensive coordinator Tony Elliott and Texas A&M’s defensive coordinator Mike Elko. Former Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett, who is a big Duke basketball fan who pops up in Cameron on a regular basis, is also in the mix.

All three are smart guys. Elliott was a walk-on at Clemson who was also an Academic all-ACC selection. Elko is a Penn grad while Garrett attended Princeton.

We don’t know enough about either Elliott or Elko to draw any conclusions but we do have this opinion.

In basketball we’re defense-first. Absolutely.

Not in football, at least not Duke football.

After this season, we can understand why a strong defensive mind would have an appeal but here’s the reality about Duke football. You can win games 2-0 but it’s not going to sell tickets.

Duke football would have to improve massively to compete at the highest levels of the sport but in football, offense is vastly more entertaining than defense and much more likely to sell tickets.

That said, you can always hire talented coordinators.