Story Poster
Photo by Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Texas A&M Football

Mike Elko represents both 'obvious' & 'right' choice for A&M football

November 26, 2023
37,718

The right choice is often the obvious choice.

The obvious choice for Texas A&M’s next head football coach is Mike Elko. He’s also the right choice to replace ousted coach Jimbo Fisher.

The fact there were chaotic pratfalls and embarrassing reversals prior to Elko’s hiring calls for choice words for all involved.

But all is well that ends well. The bet here is A&M’s coaching missteps will… Well, end with Elko.

He might not be the proverbial home run hire. But he isn’t the two-base error of every A&M hire since R.C. Slocum.

Elko is smart. He’s strong. He’s not stubborn.

He’ll ensure the Aggies will have a strong defense. The bet here is he’ll defer to a capable offensive coordinator — maybe even Bobby Petrino — to clear the clogged pipes of Fisher’s failed offensive system.

Jamie Maury, TexAgs
During Elko’s four seasons at A&M, the Aggie defense ranked inside the nation’s top 15 on twice occasions (2020 & 2021).

A&M could have gone for higher-profile coaches. Maybe Director of Athletics Ross Bjork did but was blocked by varying circumstances.

Washington’s Kalen DeBoer isn’t bailing on a team in the national championship hunt. Clemson’s Dabo Swinney seemed like a pipe dream. Ohio State’s Ryan Day wouldn’t figure to leave Columbus unless forced. Kentucky’s Mark Stoops was a forced feed.

Some Aggies favored Ole Miss’ Lane Kiffin, but a listing ship need not take on fresh water.

No doubt, A&M is a listing ship. A mere 20 victories over three seasons makes that abundantly clear.

However, the right guy can righten the ship.

Elko is the right guy.

He has had success as a head coach. He’s posted 16 wins in two seasons at Duke, which is historically a coaching graveyard. His nine-win season in 2022 marked just the seventh time Duke has managed that many victories.

He also understands what he’s getting into at A&M. He lived four years in College Station. His sons went to high school here. There will be no surprises.

Further, Elko has a well-earned reputation as a brilliant defensive coach. As Texas A&M’s defensive coordinator, he supervised defensive units which ranked ninth in the country in 2020 and 14th in the country in 2021.

He’ll demand more from A&M defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin. That is, in the unlikely event he retains Durkin.

But Elko figures to retain Elijah Robinson for his defensive line expertise, recruiting acumen and to keep a large portion of A&M’s championship-caliber roster intact.

Make no mistake, A&M has a championship-caliber roster. The Aggies held second-half leads over SEC rivals Alabama, Tennessee, Ole Miss and LSU despite playing second- and third-string quarterbacks.

Jaylynn Nash-USA TODAY Sports
Elko has a 16-9 record as a head coach, and seven of those losses have come by one score.

With a little more luck and better coaching, the Aggies can celebrate closing out victories rather than lament close losses.

Of course, there are no guarantees. FIsher’s track record of 10-win seasons and a national title indicated he would have immense success at A&M.

The Aggies flourished for three seasons but ultimately floundered under Fisher. They managed eight wins in 2021, but Fisher curiously opted out of the Gator Bowl.

And here we’ve been told so often how vital are those extra weeks of bowl practice.

Then there was the 5-7 debacle of 2022, followed by this season’s 7-5 finish.

Detractors will point out Elko was just 7-5 at Duke this year, too.

But not all 7-5 records are the same. At A&M, Fisher was able to recruit the nation’s premier prospects. Elko had to settle on second-tier recruits and overachievers.

Heck, Riley Leonard was a three-star prospect who was also recruited by Nebraska, South Alabama, Tulane and Southern Miss.

Elko, with Robinson on the point, will recruit at a high level for A&M. The bet here is there will be better player development, better discipline, better clock management and better offense. That all will result in better seasons.

I believe A&M will be better with Elko.

He might not have been the first choice, but he was the right choice.

Discussion from...

Mike Elko represents both 'obvious' & 'right' choice for A&M football

29,095 Views | 18 Replies | Last: 3 mo ago by SinKiller
LatinAggie1997
How long do you want to ignore this user?
AG
Yes to Elko!
No to the 3 man front loving Durkin.
Maybe to BP if Elko wants it.
Yes, to winning!
ABATTBQ87
How long do you want to ignore this user?
AG
Elko 46
RC was 45 when he took over in 1989

The last 3 coaches to win conference championships were: Gene Stallings aged 32; JS was 42, and RC was 47
DGrimesAg92
How long do you want to ignore this user?
Great Hire!!!!

Now don't let the dumbass who handed Jimbo
an open ended plaque anywhere near this guy.
aggieland09
How long do you want to ignore this user?
MaroonStain
How long do you want to ignore this user?
AG
"...take on fresh water..." Haha. Well done, Olin!
sonnysixkiller
How long do you want to ignore this user?
AG
Typos.
TAMU74
How long do you want to ignore this user?
AG
I hope we got this hire right.
I'm beginning to understand how Boston Red Sox fans felt for so many years of failed hopes.
Eddie Vedder
How long do you want to ignore this user?
Joey Freshwater reference
lagoag
How long do you want to ignore this user?
Definitely the right choice. It's going to be a interesting offseason.
Ponylaw_aTm
How long do you want to ignore this user?
AG
What's the thought on Santucci? Coming with to go-DC with Robinson or not coming with?
Definitely Not A Cop
How long do you want to ignore this user?
AG
Tbh, I hate to lose him, this is the best the LB's have looked in years.
Bill Superman
How long do you want to ignore this user?
AG
Ponylaw_aTm said:

What's the thought on Santucci? Coming with to go-DC with Robinson or not coming with?
Leave Santucci behind.
sharpdressedman
How long do you want to ignore this user?
Yep and Yep. Excellent article!
Ol Rock
How long do you want to ignore this user?
AG
Not the right choice, but I wish him the best and hope we find great success. It feels like the safe and 'try not get mocked by the media because we've already been rejected by our first 4 options and we need to close a deal quickly because this is not going well' hire. I would have rather taken a chance on an up and coming coach.

Are you also saying we might have been able to get DeBoer if we came up with a strategy and didn't just fire our coach mid-season as a knee-jerk response?

Fisch?

I liked the part about not all 7-5 teams are the same.
One of those losses is to 3-8 Virginia and another loss was a shutout 0-23 loss to Louisville. Is Elko the first coach we've hired coming off a 7-win season?

I'm hopeful Elko will be successful at A&M. I just don't see much difference between what we had and what we hired, except $77M.
jmp3813
How long do you want to ignore this user?
Quote:

Is Elko the first coach we've hired coming off a 7-win season?
The last coach we hired came off a 5-6 season...
evan_aggie
How long do you want to ignore this user?
AG
"No doubt, A&M is a listing ship. A mere 20 victories over three seasons makes that abundantly clear."
LB12Diamond
How long do you want to ignore this user?
AG
Very solid hire. Like many things about it.

If DeBoer was not an option, Elko is nice one to get.
SinKiller
How long do you want to ignore this user?
You can want it to not be the case, but this is a very incomplete roster. You have holes galore, and they're really not that hard to see. Most of how he'll coach is pure conjecture on your part. This is at best a "kissing your sister" hire, I really just see more of the same. I believe the last time we saw him at A&M, was when that vaunted defense let LSU march right down the field to win a game it was almost impossible for the Ags to lose.

I think we'll be looking for another coach in 4 /5 years. Hope beyond hope I'm wrong, but all the signs are there.
Refresh
Page 1 of 1
 
×
subscribe Verify your student status
See Subscription Benefits
Trial only available to users who have never subscribed or participated in a previous trial.