Did Texas A&M Football Upgrade Their Staff Across the Board?

Taking a look at the Texas A&M football staff at the beginning of 2023 compared to what Elko has assembled.

Sep 30, 2023; Durham, North Carolina, USA; Duke Blue Devils head coach Mike Elko smiles just before
Sep 30, 2023; Durham, North Carolina, USA; Duke Blue Devils head coach Mike Elko smiles just before / Jaylynn Nash-USA TODAY Sports
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Texas A&M Football's Defensive Coordinator: An Upgrade?

Let's take a look at how the new staff stacks up versus the one that is headed out the door.

DC/LBs: Jay Bateman vs. DJ Durkin

Bateman was perhaps the biggest eyebrow-raiser of a name on this staff that Elko brought in. He didn't exactly have the most stellar of recent on-field track records as a DC of the available candidates, but, then again, neither did Durkin when he was hired. I'm on record as being a defender of Durkin's coaching ability at the DC position, and the linebacker play took a huge step forward when he took over this year as well.

Bateman, like Durkin when he was hired, is a guy who had very successful defenses further in the past, but his most recent stop as a DC, playing for an offensively-focused head coach, didn't see quite the same success. He ended up coming on at Florida (a previous stop for Durkin as well) as linebackers coach, where his position saw a lot of success and he was known as one of the top recruiters.

The tricky thing here is that Bateman will be calling Elko's defense, not his own. Even so, though, as a solo DC, Bateman excelled when at Army: especially impressive given the particular strictures that program faces. He and Elko run the same basic scheme, which is a big reason the new head man for the Aggies zeroed in on Bateman in the first place.

There are too many unknowns for me to call this definitively one way or the other right off the top here. I do like the Bateman hire, especially considering what he can do on the recruiting trail, but we'll just have to see more of whether he is what Dickey was to Jimbo or if he will have a larger hand in things.

With regard to Elko identifying what he wants out of the hire and going and getting it, it's an A+ easily. Jimbo's hire of Durkin, while not bad, still smacked of a guy going and getting a name from his circles rather than carrying out a specific vision, as it felt like was the case with so many of Fisher's hires. Even so, with all the unknowns, I'm going to call this one a push at the moment.

Let's take a look at the rest of the defensive staff.