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A New Era For Duke Football Starts Friday Evening

What does Duke have in Mike Elko? We’ll know soon enough.

DURHAM, NC - APRIL 16: Duke University head coach Mike Elko talks to the team after the Duke University Blue & White Spring Football Game on April 16, 2022 at Wallace Wade Stadium in Durham, North Carolina.
Photo by Katherine Gawlik/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
  • Date: 9/2
  • Time: 7:30 pm
  • Venue: Wallace Wade
  • Video: ACCN

Temple and Duke square off on Friday, each with a new coach.

David Cutcliffe, who had a remarkable run at Duke until the last couple of years, is out, replaced by Mike Elko, previously an assistant at Texas Tech. He also worked at Notre Dame and Wake Forest.

And Temple went Lone Star too, hiring Stan Drayton away from the Longhorns.

Last year, Duke was awful on on defense and Temple was equally bad on offense. Elko was a defensive coordinator; Drayton worked with running backs at Texas and also for Ohio State and the Chicago Bears.

Something has to give.

You may remember that Duke and Temple played in the 2018 Independence Bowl (Duke won going away).

So what will we see?

Well, it’s really hard to know. Duke probably has more talent than the Owls - you’d assume so anyway - but with both teams starting from scratch, we can’t say. A lot will come down to smart hires and who got themselves organized faster.

We would hope that Elko would lead to a tougher defense. He’s not handling it personally - that’s going to be Robb Smith, who followed Elko from Texas Tech - but presumably they have a good working relationship.

Kevin Johns comes over from Memphis to run offense for Elko. They’ve decided to run Riley Leonard at QB. He’s a 6-4 sophomore but Duke fans haven’t seen much of him.

As we say, a lot to learn and we’ll know more after the game.