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Duke Football: The Mike Elko Era Begins

Our first look at Duke football in a new era

South Carolina State v Duke
DURHAM, NC - DECEMBER 14: Duke football head coach Mike Elko is introduced during the game between the South Carolina State Bulldogs and the Duke Blue Devils at Cameron Indoor Stadium on December 14, 2021 in Durham, North Carolina.
Photo by Lance King/Getty Images

Duke fans really don’t know a whole lot about Mike Elko yet. Unlike David Cutcliffe, who had head coachng experience and a reputation as a quarterback whisperer, Elko was a defensive coordinator, most recently for Jimbo Fisher at Texas A&M.

Just from what we’ve seen of him in public, he seems like a somewhat quiet guy.

But his college coach, Al Bagnoli, said this about his former Penn player: “He said, ‘He’s the smartest football player that we’ve ever had at the University of Pennsylvania... ‘No question about it.’”

That’s really great to hear and this might seem like a minor point but it’s really not: his time at Penn, and also at Notre Dame, mean that Duke’s academic requirements will not surprise him.

Elko played safety at Penn, but in high school he was a quarterback so he also has awareness of both sides.

Saturday was Duke’s spring game and Elko’s focus was on the Blue & White competing.

Sounds like he got it.

White won 28-14 but Blue pushed back hard.

We have no idea what to expect this fall, but we like what the players said about their experience so far. You can check those in the links below.