Mike Elko shares insights on Duke football’s success and preparing for challenges

By Gene Galin

Charlotte, NC – During the ACC Football Kickoff breakout session on Wednesday, Duke football coach Mike Elko opened up about the program’s commitment to success, changes in coaching staff, and preparations for the upcoming season. Despite not securing a victory against the formidable Clemson team, Duke’s familiarity with their opponents gives them an edge, and Coach Elko’s extension reflects the mutual commitment between him and the university. With a focus on elevating their game, Duke is ready to tackle the challenges of the new season and continue their pursuit of success.

Commitment to Success and Team Evolution

In his address, Coach Elko emphasized the commitment of the Duke football program to achieve success. While not every game has resulted in a win, the team’s familiarity with their opponents, like Clemson, has provided valuable insights for future matchups. Additionally, there have been notable changes in the coaching staff, including a new offensive coordinator and defensive approach, to enhance the team’s overall performance. The emergence of freshman quarterback Grayson Loftus has created excitement and hope for the team’s future success. Furthermore, Coach Elko’s contract extension highlights the strong bond between the coach and the university, ensuring continuity and stability for the program.

Year Two – Growth and Preparation

Coach Elko emphasized that the second year of the program is about elevating their game and preparing for new challenges. The initial year laid the foundation, and now, the focus is on refining their strategies and continually developing as a team. To achieve growth, Duke is dedicated to providing its student-athletes with elite experiences and investing in quality resources. The coaching staff is tirelessly working to improve each player’s skills and overall teamwork, believing that success can be achieved regardless of past performance.

Success in College Football: Hard Work and Dedication

In the fiercely competitive landscape of college football, success is not solely determined by reputation or past performances. Coach Elko stressed that teams outside the national spotlight can still achieve success with a strong work ethic and dedication behind the scenes. Improvement and growth are key to reaching their goals, and Duke football is committed to addressing shortcomings and leveraging every opportunity to enhance their performance. Coach Elko also emphasized that gambling is strictly prohibited for the team, ensuring the focus remains solely on the game.

Focusing on Program Momentum

Addressing the challenges of modern-day college football, Coach Elko highlighted the importance of educating players about sports gambling concerns. Additionally, improving their past defense has been a critical focus for the team, and the decision on the Nickelback position will be made after training camp. The team has also sought to strengthen its lineup by bringing in experienced players who can contribute to their success.

Adding Veteran Experience to the Team

Aiming for a balanced and effective offense, Duke football looks to run the football while leveraging the experience of players who have been part of the team previously. The coach emphasized the uncertainty of facing opposing team strategies but sees the presence of experienced players as a benefit, particularly for the opener game. Furthermore, Coach Elko views playing against more diverse programs as a positive step towards broadening the team’s capabilities.

Total Program Development and Building a Winning Culture

Coach Elko outlined Duke’s focus on every aspect of the program, aiming to build it in its totality. The team has undergone major renovations, including branding projects and infrastructure improvements, to foster a winning culture. Honest and open dialogues with players challenge their potential, and Duke aims to maintain the level of success achieved in the previous year by continuous growth and improvement. The coach also expressed a desire to give players every opportunity to succeed and revealed a unique defensive package for third-down situations, focusing on pressuring the opposing quarterback.

Creating Buzz and Preparing for Challenges

Duke football is actively working to create a buzz and generate positive talk about the team. The team is determined to do something special this season. Coach Elko acknowledged the challenge of facing different defensive schemes and Garrett Riley’s air raid offense, emphasizing the need to adapt and excel in such situations.

Preparing for Run-Heavy Air Raid Offense and Matchup-Driven Strategies

With a diverse range of offensive systems in college football, Duke emphasizes leveraging their players’ strengths to succeed. Preparing for a run-heavy air raid offense requires strategic thinking and focusing on pressuring the opposing quarterback. The team plans to make the young quarterback uncomfortable and disrupt his rhythm, while also showing respect for his capabilities. The limited familiarity with the opponent’s quarterback calls for continuous evaluation and adjustment to ensure optimal performance.

With a strong focus on development, hard work, and dedication, Duke aims to maintain momentum, build a winning culture, and achieve success.

View Duke football coach Mike Elko during ACC Football Kickoff breakout session – 7.26.23

00:16 Duke football program’s commitment to success

  • Familiarity with Clemson’s program hasn’t led to wins
  • Offensive and defensive changes affecting the team
  • Recognition of Grayson Loftus’ potential as a backup
  • Contract extension shows commitment from Duke

03:03 Elevating game in year two

  • Year one is broad stroke, year two is about details
  • Schedule is more challenging, need to elevate and grow
  • Importance of quarterback position and impacting the game
  • Continuing to develop and carve a niche
  • Commitment of resources to enhance program for student athletes
  • Building a program that players want to be part of
  • Affecting kids in every aspect of their life
  • Continuing to pour into foundations for growth and development
  • Having enough resources for a quality elite experience
  • Every year is different, focus on improvement

07:08 Success in college football requires consistent hard work and dedication.

  • Teams that are off the radar can have great seasons.
  • The team has improved physically and mentally compared to last year.
  • Training camp will determine the team’s willingness to give their all.
  • The focus is on working hard and controlling what can be controlled.
  • Coach believes in being honest and addressing mistakes for growth.
  • Sports gambling is not allowed for the team.

10:21 Sports gambling and its impact on Duke football

  • Legalization in North Carolina may not have a huge impact, but it is a prevalent issue that needs to be addressed
  • Duke football focuses on the process of winning and pushing their program to excite fans and recruits

14:12 Adding veteran experience to balance the team.

  • Running the football with returning running backs and offensive line starters.
  • Familiarity with players from previous coaching experiences.
  • Uncertainty about Clemson’s package.
  • Prefer having older and experienced players in the opener.
  • Positive outlook on playing more programs consistently.

17:35 Focus on every aspect of the program and strive for improvement in all areas

  • Major renovations to the second floor completed this season
  • Continuously evaluate and improve all aspects of the program
  • Challenge players to reach their full potential
  • Emphasize honest and open communication with players
  • Recognize the need for growth and improvement to maintain success
  • Express confidence in the team’s ability to win now
  • Utilize a unique and aggressive defensive strategy on third down

20:40 Making the quarterback uncomfortable is the goal.

  • Creating a buzz about our team and what we’re capable of.
  • Having a player like Riley provides tremendous value.
  • The opportunity to come back together and do something special.
  • Evaluating personnel and fitting them into the system.
  • Being prepared to adapt and have defensive wrinkles.
  • Facing different variations of the air raid.

24:00 Preparing for run-heavy offenses and spread formations

  • Focus on leveraging players like Will Shipley and Kade Klubnik
  • Make the quarterback uncomfortable and disrupt their rhythm
  • Rattle the young quarterback to throw them off
  • Respect Kade and expect him to play his best
  • Not much familiarity with Kade due to limited previous matchups
  • Reflect on past performance to identify areas for improvement