Quotes and notes from Mike Elko ahead of the Texas A&M football spring game

Mike Elko held a pre-spring game presser today. Here’s what the head man for Texas A&M football said.
Sep 18, 2021; College Station, Texas, USA; A view of the stands and the fans and the 12th Man logo
Sep 18, 2021; College Station, Texas, USA; A view of the stands and the fans and the 12th Man logo / Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Mike Elko remarks on offensive progression, defensive versatility ahead of Texas A&M football’s spring game

The head man for Texas A&M football once again took the podium during this spring practice period, this time with an eye towards the spring game. You can listen to everything he said at this link or below:

Here’s some of the notable things he said.

Elko started by praising the other programs around campus, noting specifically that some of the recruits on campus made their way over to Blue Bell Park to see part of the #1 Texas A&M baseball team’s sweep of Vanderbilt. He then got into a quick recap of the second team scrimmage, making sure to mention how far the offense had progressed with regard to timing, execution, and preventing presnap penalties.

He then touched a bit on the depth the Aggies have, mentioning how much versatility they have, especially on the back end of the defense. The Aggie coach remarked that they’re still mixing and matching the personnel back there quite a bit. He then opened it up for questions.

One of the first things he was asked about was Taurean York, fresh off of being selected as a captain by his teammates, as a leader. Elko began to almost gush about the sophomore linebacker, mentioning how rare it was to see a guy get so many votes among his teammates, especially given the near-consensus across position groups. He added that York is a great example of a player maximizing who he is, not only a player but as a leader. He finished by saying that you want as many players like York in the program as you can get.

On building a culture in the era of the portal, Elko mentioned that it is not as hard as some might think. He made mention of other industries that may have high turnover, and said those institutions are able to keep a consistent culture due to their leadership. It’s the same with a modern college football program; if you create clear standards and expectations throughout the program, not only does it sustain more volatility, but it limits the amount of transition that you experience as well.

A little later, he was asked about the kick return game. Elko mentioned that the now-injured Jabre Barber was someone who had been emerging at that point. The alternatives that Elko mentioned were Cyrus Allen and Moose in the punt return game, as well as Rueben Owens in the kickoff return game.

On the subject of the spring game, Elko mentioned that a successful experience will be one that leaves the coaches and fans proud of and excited about the team. If the guys play hard, the operation looks clean and well-coached, he’d consider it a success. He didn’t seem too worried about giving away trade secrets, saying that there’s a lot of film out there of his scheme already, but that they’d refrain from showing anything new they may have cooked up over the offseason.

As far as the health of the team, Elko seemed bullish. He said they were significantly healthier than he had hoped to be coming out of spring ball, which is a great sign. The dividends from the Tommy Moffitt hire may already be here.

Finally, he touched on the chaos of the transfer portal—timely, as the spring portal opened yesterday. He said it had been much more manageable this time around, partly because of the restriction on intra-conference transfers in this window. In addition, though, having more of the structure built up by this point organizationally has been very helpful. It allows the coaches to focus on spring ball and not get bogged down in minutiae.