“That’s the million dollar question… We are going to find a way to play explosive offense,” new Texas A&M coach Mike Elko said during his introductory press conference in College Station on Monday.
That’s how Elko started the press conference that followed his introduction.
Elko, widely viewed as one of the great defensive minds in college football, knows the Aggies desperately want to move into the modern era of offensive football.
“We’re going to be able to switch up tempos. We’re going to be able to utilize our personnel. You’ve got to be very multiple and very adaptable with what you do on offense,” Elko said.
The 46-year-old returns to A&M after two seasons as the head coach at Duke. After inheriting a Blue Devils program that won one of 18 ACC games prior to his arrival, Elko led Duke to a nine-win season. Before that he served as the Aggies defensive coordinator from 2018 to 2021, spearheading a defensive turnaround that led the Aggies to a 9-1 season in 2020 with a final ranking of fourth in the AP Poll.
Elko’s first priority is contact with A&M’s current players and potential recruits ahead of the early signing period in December. In the big picture, Elko wants to build a championship program at a place that has yet to win a conference title since 1998.
“When you look at what this program is capable of, we’ve got to be able to fulfill that potential. That happens with work. That was the message I sent to the players. We’ve got to be committed to all the work that’s going to take,” Elko said.
Elko also mentioned building a relationship with Texas high school coaches as a priority and building toughness in a program that many felt lacked that quality under Jimbo Fisher.
“I do think there’s a blue-collar toughness that comes from having a defense that stands the test of time. But if you can’t score points, you won’t win games,” Elko said.
Elko played Ivy League football for the conference champions at Penn and got early coaching experience at the Merchant Marine Academy. More importantly, his varied coaching experience leads him back to Texas A&M.