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Duke takes on the UCF Knights in the Military Bowl.

The Adam Gold Show / Adam Gold
The Truth Network Radio
December 20, 2022 3:52 pm

Duke takes on the UCF Knights in the Military Bowl.

The Adam Gold Show / Adam Gold

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December 20, 2022 3:52 pm

Who does Mike consider to be an elite athlete and someone who has a lot of potential still, which he’s excited for next season. Also, who and what has jumped out to him about this past season and this group of guys? Mike is a defensive guy, so did their ability on defense surprise him? And Adam’s curious how he processes games like Georgia Tech and others, that had them being so close to a different bowl game? Was he worried about certain players being targeted because of the portal? What is he selling point to keep his players in Duke?

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That is the head coach at Duke is Mike Elko. And he joins us on the Adam Gold show.

Hey, thank you very much. I know everything is crazy. Did it seem does it seem like bowl season the holidays came on us faster this year than in years past?

I don't know. Yeah, I think it's been crazy this December with the recruiting end and the transfer portal and everything else you got going on. I think you wake up and bam, you're right in the middle of all season now.

I'm not even in the transfer portal and I feel like I've been pulled to it. I may ask you a question about that in a little bit. The last time we spoke, I believe was Operation Football and I knew you were optimistic. There are a lot of good players that you had access to this year. Let's just start with the quarterback Riley Leonard and the type when I watch him. I see prototypical college quarterback is.

Is that fair? That's probably underselling his ability to throw the ball a little bit. I think you obviously he's a dual threat kids who's got athleticism and he can make plays with his feet and and that part of it is obviously a huge piece of what we utilize. But I think he does have arm talent. I think he does have the ability to make the throws that he needs to make to be an NFL quarterback. I think he's maybe more of a new age quarterback than I would say a college guy.

Well yeah, I wasn't trying to pigeonhole him into not a not a pro. I was sort of amazed and all of these things are subjective and who knows when people vote. I was amazed that he was not either second or third team all ACC. I think there was an argument you could make for Jordan Travis. But aside from all the passing numbers that Riley Leonard had, he was 10th in the league in rushing. Don't those yards count?

They certainly should. They certainly counted for us and I think we wound up third in the league in rushing offense and he was our leading rusher. And so yeah, I think when you talk about his ability to multitask and help us move the offense down the field and scored points, he certainly does that in a really good clip.

Led you in rushing, led you in rushing touchdowns as well. Is there something that he does that we haven't seen yet? Is he a good cook? Can he play a musical instrument? What else is there to Riley Leonard? Probably the basketball component. He was an extremely talented basketball player in high school and the rumor has him being the best basketball player on our team.

So yeah, I would say that probably piece is a little different too. Does John Shire know this? No, we're keeping that one away from John.

We're trying to make sure we keep our quarterback with us through the offseason. Alright, let's talk about your opponent in the upcoming Military Bowl. First of all, I'm sure you've been to Annapolis, but you probably went there maybe when you were on staff at Wake. I know they've played there.

That is a phenomenal, phenomenal city. But Central Florida is high powered. They've scored well over 400 points this year. You have a couple of common opponents. What have you seen from them as you have scouted them?

Yeah, I think exactly what you said. I think they're very explosive on offense. I've actually played against a lot of their offensive players from my time at A&M. You know, the quarterback was at Ole Miss as the starting quarterback. The wide receiver was the starting wide receiver at Auburn. And so a little bit of familiarity with them, but they're very explosive on offense. You know, Gus always has done a great job of finding ways to score points. And then I think they're very athletic on defense. They got a really good front four and they've done a really good job of pressuring the quarterback. And so, you know, we're gonna have our hands full up in Annapolis for sure. Mike Elko, Duke head coach joining us here.

Military Bowl coming up, I believe, two o'clock next Wednesday from Annapolis. How hard was it to convince Jordan Moore that he would best help this team at wide receiver? It wasn't hard.

You know, I think Jordan's a phenomenal kid. I think it's got to start there. And so it actually, we actually got into it a good way. He was having, he was having shoulder tendonitis in training camp. And so we were having to shut him down for certain periods where he couldn't throw. And so one day I just kind of walked up to him.

I said, hey, instead of standing on the sideline, why don't you jump in at wide receiver and see what it looks like? And he started doing it. I think he had a lot of fun running around out there. He made some plays early in camp and then he's kind of taken it and rolled with it. And so obviously him going out there as an explosive playmaker is another big piece to our success this year.

And his unselfishness, I think, is really what allowed the transition to happen. Jalen Calhoun was your leading wide receiver, but certainly in the first half of the season, I don't know if anybody caught more big passes than Jordan Moore. I mean, do other people who have played wide receiver their whole career, are they mad because he made it look so easy?

Yeah, there's probably a little bit of that. And I think, you know, one of the things that we saw watching him play last year was how athletic he was. And they tried to use him as a Wildcat quarterback. And so I think we were able, when we moved him to wide receiver, to find ways to get him out in more open space. And he's an elite athlete. You know, his athleticism and his ability to just run around is phenomenal. And I think over the course of the year, he started to craft himself even a little bit more at route running and those types of things.

And so he's got a lot of growth still in him. I think you're going to see a much better version of him at wide receiver next fall. I mean, you have a lot of really good skill position players. Did anything surprise you when you got here and you got on the field?

You can watch tape all day long. But when you get on the field with these guys, what maybe jumped out at you about, hey, this guy is better than even I thought? Yeah, probably two things jumped out at me really quick that I felt like gave us a chance.

I think one was just the character of our locker room. I think, you know, as we started going through winter workouts and getting to know the guys, obviously we've got a really, really good group of high character kids. And they started to really come together.

They started to care about each other. I think that's a big piece of it. I know it sounds like coach speak, but it really is a huge piece of what happened. And then I think as we started getting into spring football and fall camp, I think there's a competitive spirit in these guys.

And I think, you know, the hunger to prove that they were better than what the last couple of years results were, I think really drove us to become the team that we became. And so I would say those two things jumped out pretty quickly that you don't see on film. You're a defensive guy. Did their ability on defense surprise you at all?

I don't know about surprise. You know, I really tried to keep an open mind. You know, I knew schematically we would be a lot different, you know, and again, not better, not worse.

I've said that a lot, but, you know, just different. And so as we went through kind of installing our package and our plan and, you know, it took us a while. It probably took us until about the middle of fall camp to really have a good pulse of how we wanted to try to utilize different players and different pieces. And I think in the middle of fall camp, we kind of found a good rhythm of where to put guys that they could impact the game. And, you know, so then you look at the years that guys like Brandon Johnson had, guys like Shaka Hayward had, guys like Dwayne Carter had. I just think they were able to really excel as we kind of found what their strengths and weaknesses were. So many good, fast players on your defense.

Mike Elko is joining us, Duke head football coach. I talked about this at the very beginning of the show. I am curious how you process, let's just say the game against North Carolina here or Georgia Tech. I mean, you were this close to maybe being in Charlotte a couple of weeks ago. Yeah. Yeah.

And it's interesting. You know, we lost the pit by two and that was an easy process because, you know, we had a chance to make a couple of plays down the stretch and we didn't make them. You know, the Georgia Tech and the Carolina ones are still a little bit hard to even wrap your head around because we did make plays down the stretch.

And, you know, some of them just didn't count. So, you know, we're you know, we got to find a gap to close for sure. There's certainly a lot of room for growth in our program. And, you know, we're going to have big challenges next fall as the schedule ramps up. And so, you know, we know we've got to do a better job consistently throughout four quarters. But I do feel like we give ourselves a chance to be in Charlotte and be right there with the best of this conference. You scored touchdowns on consecutive plays against North Carolina, right? We did. A lot of points came off the board.

Mike Elko is here. Now, you mentioned the portal earlier and I am like this might be a touchy subject. I don't know. But because of what the portal is now and because of the openness that we all know what schools are doing and contacting players ahead of time. Were you worried at all that some like, for instance, a Riley Leonard, that there was going to be just a bunch of people coming after some of your better players in the portal? Yeah, I think you're naive nowadays if you're not worried about it.

I think no matter what school you're at across the country, you better have a plan on how you're going to retain your roster. I think somebody asked me very early on my philosophy on the portal. And I think my number one philosophy on the portal is try to keep our guys out of it. I think we've got to really approach it that way.

And it really is. And so, you know, we have had a lot of really open and honest conversations with our guys about what it's really like, what it's really like at other places, at other schools. And, you know, just try to get them to understand and appreciate what they do have here. And again, it speaks to the character, you know, the character of the guys, because certainly people are coming after our guys no different than they're coming after anyone else's. And, you know, we've got a really connected, unified locker room. And, you know, they're committed to coming back next year and trying to take this program even higher.

And because so many of these decisions are at least in some ways rooted in finances. Maybe they look at Duke as being somewhat vulnerable because there isn't a huge fan base and maybe there's not as much attention paid to it. What is your selling point to Riley or other kids that this is the best place for your development?

Yeah, I think I've seen football at every level. And I think the way we coach our kids, the way we develop our kids and the camaraderie that they have in that locker room is unique to Duke. And I don't think regardless of the logo image or what, you know, maybe traditional power calls them, that doesn't necessarily mean that they're getting the same level of coaching, the same level of development or the same level of camaraderie. And that piece of it, along with the Duke degree, I think makes a lot of noise with these kids.

And so you can look around the country and see a lot of big name programs, big name logos that aren't necessarily having the success they want to have. You know, I think you look at what we're doing here and I think kids are really excited about how they're getting coached and developed. I think the diploma, when it says Duke on it in that Gothic lettering, I'm sure has a lot to do with why kids stick around, as do you, Mike Elko. Love talking to you. Good luck against the Knights in Annapolis coming up next Wednesday. I appreciate your time. Yeah, I appreciate you, Adam. Thanks for having me on. You got it.

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See store or for details. Who went to Duke in the first place? Is probably coming to Duke not not only to play football, have an opportunity to play in the ACC. We can joke about what that means all day long, but it's still one of the power conference. You have an opportunity to play football in the ACC and you have an opportunity to play and get a Duke education.

Actually, maybe it's better said so as not to create the guffaws out there. But as Coach Elko said, the Duke diploma. Right. I think he said that if he got if he didn't.

I did. It's important. So, yeah.

So having that does matter when you go on to whatever is next and the the type of student who chooses that. You're probably not choosing Duke if you are trying to get to the National Football League. Right. That's fair.

You're probably like, I need to get to the NFL. It's Duke or it's honestly, let's just use the team that they're going to play Central Florida. Yeah, it's probably a better path to the NFL at Central Florida than it is at Duke, or at least the same without all of those nasty, crazy exams.

Right. I'm not saying I don't mean to disparage Central Florida, but I'm I don't think it's quite the challenging academic school that Duke is. It's not a cakewalk. I don't I don't know. No colleges.

Any college is hard. Maryland, Maryland and I, man, we butted heads. Hey, are you ready? The Christmas countdown's on at JCPenney through Saturday. Use your coupon and dash away with very merry savings on last minute gifts across the store, like fine jewelry stocking stuffers up to 70 percent off after coupon and save up to 50 percent on comfy, stylish outerwear for the whole fam. Add curbside pickup to make your trip extra quick. We got your holiday. JCPenney offers good on select items through 12 24 exclusions apply. See store JCP dot com for details.
Whisper: medium.en / 2022-12-22 07:47:43 / 2022-12-22 07:54:13 / 7

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