Durham, NC – Duke football welcomed local media members to Brooks Field at Wallace Wade Stadium on Saturday for media day.
Duke head coach Mike Elko, defensive coordinator Robb Smith, offensive coordinator Kevin Johns as well as junior offensive lineman Graham Barton, senior wide receiver Jalon Calhoun, redshirt junior defensive tackle DeWayne Carter, and graduate student defensive back Darius Joiner all spoke to members of the media during the event.
“I think the expectations are always the same to me,” Elko said when asked about managing expectations as a first-year head coach. “The expectation is that we go out and lay it on the line for Duke every week. We have internal expectations that we want to get to a bowl game, we want to beat certain teams on our schedule, we all know who they are, and we want to make sure we are competing for ACC championships. Those goals are our goals, and they are never going to change. I think you focus it on what you can control now, what you can improve now, and the daily process that it takes to get you where you want to go.”
Johns has over 10 years of experience as an offensive coordinator and joined Elko’s staff in January after a three-year stint as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Memphis.
“I think that we have phenomenal depth in that room,” Johns said when asked about the running back room. “I don’t think there is one guy that is ready to take the lead, much like Duke had a year ago. I like what we have in that room and every day we are giving guys a chance to show what they can do. Scrimmage situations to us are extremely important. We had one last week and one coming up tomorrow, so we put a lot of stock in that. I for sure believe instead of having one bell-cow in the backfield, I think we have three or four we can roll out to keep each other fresh and wear a defense down.”
Smith was hired by Elko in December after coaching alongside him at Texas A&M in 2019. He was most recently the defensive coordinator at Rutgers before the move to Durham.
“We want guys to be who they are and Shaka (Heyward) by nature is not a loud person, but he is a smart football player,” Smith said. “He does a really good job communicating with our front in terms of what they need to do. When we are in the big room and Shaka says something, people listen to him. That is as much a part of leadership and influence on our defense as anything. He picks his spots when he needs to say something, but I am really pleased with the progress that he has made. I am excited to see him play this season.
“Dorian (Mausi) is another guy who communicates well. I think those two have developed a good tandem this training camp. A lot of it is fitting off each other, anticipating what the other guy is going to do. They have got a lot of cumulative reps together and that has been positive. Both those guys have been great this training camp, but we have some more time before we kick it off for real and need to keep getting better.”
Duke’s 2022 season opener is Friday, Sept. 2 against Temple. Kickoff is slated for 7:30 p.m. at Brooks Field at Wallace Wade Stadium and will be broadcast on ACC Network.
Season and single game tickets for the 2022 Duke football season are now on sale. New customers can visit GoDuke.com/FootballTix or call the Duke Athletics Ticket Office at 919-681-BLUE (2583) to purchase tickets. Season ticket holders from 2021 who would like to renew their seats for this season can call the ticket office Monday – Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.