Mike Elko: "I know all of the reasons why this place can win a national championship"

ESPN’s Q&A with Texas A&M football coach Mike Elko shows optimism in the Aggie program.

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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ESPN releases Q&A with Mike Elko; Another sign of a new era for Texas A&M football

Whatever else you can say about the previous two coaches for Texas A&M football, one thing that is for sure is that neither were very much in the media spotlight. Kevin Sumlin, though coming from a small-school background previously, rocketed to fame after his first year with Johnny Football. Even so, he was still opaque when it came to interviews and even the media availability that he was made to do.

Jimbo Fisher is a different story but with the same results. Fisher’s hire was one of the most high-profile steals in college football history, and made waves around the country. A national championship-winning coach and well-known personality, Fisher was one of the biggest names in the sport. Even so, he rarely took interviews—I recall him once going on TexAgs Radio and once sitting down with Marty and McGee at his ranch—outside of the normal pressers for Texas A&M football.

In his first couple of months on the job, Mike Elko—though a very busy man—has shown a bit different bent. He has already been far more available to the media than he was in his time as defensive coordinator under Fisher (likely a result of the then-HC’s policy), and seems determined to embrace the power of positive press coverage.

The latest example of this is a Q&A released today by ESPN with the new head man for Texas A&M football. In it, Elko speaks about his “whirlwind” first few months on the job, what his impressions are of the program (“I think you have everything that you could ever want and need to build a championship-level program”), and more.

While I understand the philosophy of the other coaches—let’s keep our heads down, not be all in the headlines, and do the hard work—things rarely played out that way. As a result, when things came crashing down for Fisher in particular, the media was quick to jump in on the feeding frenzy.

Elko is taking a different tack. He’s in a different place, having to do some image rehab for a program that suffered major blows under the previous coach, but he is broadcasting the well-justified optimism surrounding the Aggies far and wide.

Of course, with that message will come expectations. If fans of the sport begin to take notice, then it will be that much more embarrassing if you fall on your face. Ultimately, though, I think this is the right move. This was a program in bad need of some good pub, and Elko is doing his best to be the face of the better days that are ahead. Both on and off the field, he’s off to a great start.

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