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Duke offensive lineman Jacob Monk and head football coach Mike Elko on the upcoming season

The Adam Gold Show / Adam Gold
The Truth Network Radio
July 26, 2023 6:49 pm

Duke offensive lineman Jacob Monk and head football coach Mike Elko on the upcoming season

The Adam Gold Show / Adam Gold

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July 26, 2023 6:49 pm

Jacob Monk, returning starter at Center and team captain of the Duke Blue Devils football team joined Adam live in Charlotte from the 2023 ACC Football Kickoff to discuss what to expect out from the team this upcoming season. He also shared the best things about his quarterback Riley Leonard both as a player and as a person. Also, he describes why fans should take Duke football as a program seriously this year. 

Mike Elko is entering his second season as Duke football head coach. The team finished 9-4 overall overall last season and 5-3 in ACC play. Coach Elko shares with Adam how they look to build upon the success of last season and their strength of schedule for this season. It all begins on September 4th when his Blue Devils welcome the Clemson Tigers to Wallace Wade Stadium in Durham. 


What a coincidence. We're in ACC football kickoff. I am Adam Gold. And if you are watching on the stream, that right there is Jacob Munk.

Team captain, center. You have played every position on the offensive line, have you not? I have, yes sir. Alright, so we sort of gave everybody a taste. I've been saying this for weeks.

I am bullish on the Blue Devils. We sat here a year ago. And we talked and there was so much uncertainty. New head coach. Not that the old head coach wasn't a great head coach. He built the program really up from nothing.

But needed a kind of a fresh look. So a year removed from all of that. What are your thoughts on your new boss and all of everything that went on last year? I love him, man. He's still the same dude. Takes care of us, man. He's a players coach for sure.

And it shows how it works. It paid off last year. And we're looking forward to this year. And you open with Clemson. Yes sir.

I think that's as hard on Clemson as it is on you guys. Yes sir. I think so.

I think so. When you saw the schedule, what was the first thing you thought about? I mean we knew that we would play Clemson at some point this year.

Opening up is really, really strong. But you gotta go to work. That's the first thing we gotta do is we have to go to work. Last year means nothing at this point. And everything that we do, we have to earn at this point.

Jacob Monk, center, captain at Duke. Talk to me about what the responsibility is when you have that bestowed upon you. I mean it's a huge responsibility. You have so many people that look up to you. The freshmen that look up to you. The young guys that look up to you.

Even the upperclassmen. If they want something answered, they'll go to you. You're pretty much that, you're the middle man from the team to the head coach and all the coaches. And you take a lot of responsibility for what goes on in the locker room. And all of the things that go into getting ready for, and you and I also joke that it's fall in August, which is certainly not fall.

But you're kind of responsible for making sure all of that stuff happens in a certain way. So how has that been for you and how do you take those responsibilities? Yeah, this summer's been really big for us. Coach Feely, Australian coach has done a great job with us. Really leaned on the leaders a lot I would say this summer.

Meeting with him probably once a week just talking about what we can do better. Because we know this is our last shot at it. It's our last shot at college football.

It's our last shot walking down the tunnel. And so we gotta make it special. And we're really working our tails off each and every day to be the best that we can be. So again, Jacob Monk is here from Duke. There's a lot of talent in your locker room. And that return had everything to do with the quarterback, Riley Leonard.

Now you work pretty closely. The center and the quarterback work pretty closely together. Best thing about Riley Leonard as a player? It's hard to just name one thing but I'll say his athleticism. He can make something out of nothing for sure. Best thing about him as a person? He's so goofy. He's like a little kid, man. Y'all would not know. Y'all do not know. He's a goofball for sure. Right?

Okay. Can you give an example of goofballing? That's not a word. I've seen so many videos of him. Whether it's him just breakdancing in the locker room. Or like a little kid making vines. He's hilarious, man. Is vines still a thing?

No. Alright, so in your relationship, what is your relationship like away from football or practice? I mean, we're great pals, man.

He's roommates with Justin Pickett who I'm really close with. We have so many great people on this team and Riley Leonard is the epitome of a Duke football player. Last year we had no idea what Jordan Moore was going to be like. So as a captain and a leader and somebody who understands what it took for a guy like Moore to go from quarterback, because he was the quarterback, to not only being a good wide receiver, but making an impact the way he did and in so many big situations.

Walk me through that. When you see that, what impresses you about that? I still just forget that he was a quarterback 11 months ago.

It's crazy to me. Seeing the plays that he's made and how he attacks each and every day. And just how much better he's grown in this past year playing a position that he had never played before. So I'm really excited to watch his growth and how he grows as a player. I mean, in the beginning of the season, it seemed like every big play that he turned in.

It was one of the cool things at the start. All right, we only have a couple more minutes with Jacob Monk of Duke. So nationally speaking, people still look at Duke and go, hey, that's nice. So from the inside, your thoughts on why people should take you guys seriously? I mean, take it seriously. Don't take it seriously.

It's whatever. I mean, we're used to being the underdog. That's right in our wheelhouse. That's how we prepare each and every day. But we don't prepare to go the distance like Rocky did. We want to win. That's what we prepare for. We don't want to trade blows.

We train to win. That's what we look forward to do. All right.

One more one more thing for you. You graduated in May. So congratulations on that.

Now you're going for your masters. I'm not. You're not. I'm not. You're not. We have to change the bio.

Yeah, I just figured that out today that it was messed up. So what what do you do now? What is what's what's what's coming up in the fall?

I'm just football. No, I'm going to take classes. Right. Yeah. I'm taking a continuing studies, just learning more, taking more African and African-American studies courses. So, yeah. And political science was your was the other part of your major or did they get that wrong, too?

No, I had political science studies. All right. Well, is politics in your future?

I hope not. That is that is a great answer. By the way, your dad played a Duke and you and I talked last year about your uncle, your late uncle, Quincy, who I was very good friends with.

So keep keep the family, family legacy going. Appreciate your time. Thank you. That is Jacob Monk. He is the center and team captain at Duke.

We'll talk to his head coach, Mike Elko, and we'll ask him what he did to annoy the ACC to give them that schedule. Coming up next. Leftovers. Or. The DMV. Or. Housecleaning.

Or. Chumba casino always brings the fun. Play over 100 different games online for free from anywhere you could redeem some serious prizes. Chumba casino dot com. Live the Chumba life. We just talked Quincy Monk. I'm sorry.

That is my mistake. Jacob Monk Quincy Monk. Sadly, and I've said this, I said this to Jacob, his uncle played linebacker for North Carolina and was a great one and a super human being passed away a few years ago.

He had complications, some some illnesses, but he was a great player at UNC, played for a few years in the NFL. But Jacob's dad, Stanley, was a great running back for the Blue Devils. So this a good family legacy, not only at Duke, but in the triangle for college football. That should be a pretty good team. Duke's got some very good offensive linemen. They've got good talent at running back and wide receiver. And Riley Leonard is a bonafide star. And there's no reason why that team won't be good. Their record might not reflect it because they literally play the top of the league.

If you if you separated the ACC in the 14 teams, top seven, bottom seven, even if you didn't put Duke in there, the Blue Devils play the entire top half of the league. So I don't know what Mike Elko did wrong, but contract extension. He probably got that done. Let's do that now. Let's do that contract extension now. So so we it looks even better when, you know, or we could like the year is going to be it's going to be a fun year. I think the Blue Devils will be good. But boy, is their schedule challenging.

If you just tune in. We talked to Chip Patterson earlier. And Chip is of the mind that Clemson is the best team and they will go 8-0 in the league. That's what I picked for the Clemson Tigers. After that, Florida State probably has the next best personnel.

But some of their tougher games are on the road. They're at Clemson. They're at Pitt. So we're going to see if the Seminoles really are ready for prime time because of the Seminoles are.

That maybe they finish seven and one. But I think Pitt's going to be good. I think North Carolina has a chance to be good. And for UNC where we're waiting to see if they are ready to meet the moment. Because over over the last several years and maybe ever. Meeting the moment, winning that game against whoever that game is has been a challenge for them. And Chip brought up the fact that, look, doesn't even have to be a great team that they're playing. Sometimes they couldn't beat Georgia Tech last year. I mean, that chance to finish the season possibly was at eleven or one.

You couldn't do it. So they have to get over that. They have to become a team that can win that game.

And that's what we're looking for with North Carolina to be able to win that particular game. So a couple of other things before we talk to Mike Elko here at Operation Football. Bryce Young is the starting quarterback. He is QB one for the Carolina Panthers. That announcement was made today. Graham, let's let's cue that back up.

It's everybody was tired of asking the question and I'm sure Frank Reich was tired of avoiding the answer. In the interest of having this question not asked a hundred times, is he QB one now and then we're good to go? Yes, he's QB one. He is QB one.

There you go. Yes, he, Bryce Young, is QB one. So whether or not that means he plays a lot in the preseason or not, they'll play some, obviously.

They have to get him up to game speed. But Sunday afternoon to start the season, it will be Bryce Young under center for the Carolina Panthers. Sebastian Aho, brand new contract, contract extension, eight years, 78 million dollars. That's a 9.75 million annual value for the Hurricanes and for Aho. And this secures the number one piece of the puzzle going forward for the Hurricanes in this offseason. Yes, when you, when I talked to Tom Dundon at the end of the year, this is before anything happened.

And we talked about priorities. The priority was Sebastian Aho, even though he has a year left on his contract. The priority was always going to be somebody who was the cornerstone of the current and the future Hurricanes. And Aho will be here for at least the next nine seasons, or he's under contract to Carolina for at least the next nine seasons. You never know the future.

I have not seen what the contract looks like to this point. And I know that there will be like a little press conference coming up at three o'clock on Zoom with Aho and president general manager Don Waddell. But it was also Sebastian Aho's 26th birthday today. That's a great birthday present, right? Here's 78 million dollars for your birthday. That's, that would be outstanding for my birthday. That's not what I got for my 26th birthday. It isn't, by the way. I'm more than twice, twice as old as Sebastian Aho.

Mike Elko is the head coach of Duke. What did you get for your 26th birthday? Do you remember? My 26th birthday? Holy cow.

Yeah, exactly. A Richmond Spider hat. I think it was a Richmond Spider coach at that time in my life. Look at that!

Happy birthday. Well, Sebastian Aho and the Hurricanes got a 78 million dollar contract. I think Sebastian's a little bit more athletic than I am. Oh, I don't know about that. Last year, you and I spoke, we spoke a few times last year, but before the season started, we had no idea. So, talk to me about how last year transpired and what impressed you most about your group last year.

Yeah, I think you come in not knowing what you're getting into, right? And obviously you see some results from the previous two years that aren't overly impressive, and so you don't really know, and I think the first thing that jumps out is we have a tremendous character in our locker room. You start to realize pretty quickly that we've got a culture that we can build off of, and so we try to get them to invest in each other, invest back in the program. We really cranked up the intensity of the offseason workouts, and you see them not blink and not flinch, and so then you know you got a chance. And then, you know, you get into the season, and we've got this quarterback who turns out to be a pretty good football player, and we do a much better job with turnover margin, and we play like a more physical team, and we run the ball better, and we stop the run better, and all of that translates into a successful season. Now we got to do it again.

And I think you can make the argument that with returning players and another year, and I've only heard rumors about Riley Leonard taking another giant step forward, and another year at the position for a wide receiver position for Jordan Moore and what he was able to do last year, and your talent on both lines of scrimmage, and it's easy to make the case that you're a better team, but I was looking at your schedule. Did you make somebody mad? I think I did. I think I offended Jim Phillips at some point along the way.

Holy cow. You ready for the opener? Not now. No, listen. Yeah, you know, the coach says, you give me a schedule and we play, and that's the best we can do, and obviously, I tell people this all the time because this is the reality. As a football coach in a football mind, I want 12 teams that I'm 28-point favorites against every week, right? As the Duke CEO, this is what we need. We need these big opportunities on these big stages to grow our brand, and I know we've got a great group of kids. I know we're working extremely hard. I know we're going to go out and we're going to compete.

We're going to play good football, and we'll find out if it's enough, but it's a great opportunity for us to put our brand on a national stage and see what happens. Labor Day night. Labor Day Monday night. That is amazing, and I forget who the opponent is, but nothing is expected.

Someone will remind you between now and then. Nothing is expected of the Clemson Tigers at all. So what did you learn from year one that leads you to make, I don't know about changes or tweaks that you make in preparation for year two? We talked to Jacob a couple of minutes ago, and as a leader, he's kind of making sure that everybody is pointed in the right direction, but I don't think he has to really bust any skulls here. I think everybody's pretty dialed in. Yeah, no, I think obviously our guys are excited about where we've come in a short period of time, and they're excited about the opportunity. I think they recognize this is a unique opportunity for them and Duke football.

We got a lot of starters back. We got a lot of guys who have been together for a really long time, they care about each other, they care about this program. For some of them, it's a last hurrah.

Dwayne Carter, Jacob Monk, those guys have been around this program for a really, really long time. They've seen the highs and lows, and they want to finish it the right way. They want to finish their career the right way. They know they've put themselves in a position where they can go out there and be successful.

It's just whether or not we can make enough plays to get this thing over the hump. Mike Elko is the head coach. I think one of the signs of respect is that we've already seen your name pop up. Like candidates for X job. It was the Northwestern situation, which I don't want to get into that particular thing, but your name already popped up, and then you get a contract extension. So good for floating your name out there so we can get that out of the way.

Yeah, so the extension I don't think had anything to do with that. I tell people this all the time because this is the reality, and I dealt with this a lot as a defensive coordinator. You are one day away from getting another job or being fired no matter what you do. Right now people talk highly about us when we lose to Clemson. If we lose to Clemson, they're going to want to run me out of Durham. That's just the nature of coaching.

Just kind of roll with that stuff as it comes along. It doesn't mean much to me or what we're doing. We know what we're building. We know what we're committed to at Duke, and we're excited for the future.

What do you think about the immediate future of Duke football and how it sits in the ACC? Yeah, I think we took this job knowing that there was a ceiling for Duke football that had started maybe to get pushed a little bit in the early days of the Cutcliffe era, and that kind of created a ceiling that was a little bit more reachable. But we think the ceiling for this program is really high. I think we have the opportunity to offer something that's really unique.

In this day and age of NIL and transfer portal and all the different things going on, we can really provide people with something unique. That's an opportunity to compete and play at a really high level in football and get an amazing degree and set themselves up for life. I think we sit at a spot that I don't know that we really thought we could get to this quickly. We've really elevated ourselves. We put ourselves into a spotlight where people are talking about us a little bit more regular. Now we've got to go out and we've got to back it up, and we've got to continue to grow. The Duke brand is obviously very strong, and that's kind of what you're discussing.

Who's the best recruiter, or what is the best recruiting tool that you have? Our former players. I think the best thing about Duke is when you get into a room with a former player and it cracks the stereotype of what a Duke football player would be. It's not a bunch of guys who grew up dreaming that they were going to go crush it at Duke academically. It's a bunch of people that wound up at Duke and then had Duke change their lives.

I think they would tell you the experience and what they learned in their four years, the people they met with, the people they connected to, really changed their life and launched them into these amazing different directions, and that sells. I know you have to go, but I want to ask you one more quick thing. I had heard a rumor that you were a soccer fan. Are you a European soccer fan?

Yeah, so I'm a die-hard Arsenal fan. Oh, you had a great year. We did. We did. It was good.

Whatever, but at the end it kind of ran out of gas. Yeah, we were a little bit ahead of schedule. Mikel Arquette is a phenomenal manager, and he's got us going in the right direction.

Oh, you absolutely are. Do you like Kai Havertz? Are you happy with Declan Rice? I'm a big Declan Rice fan.

I'm a little jury out on Kai, but we'll see how that goes. He's got a problem in front of goal. He's just got to figure out where he fits into our structure and our scheme, and if he's going to be in the midfield, just got to get back to getting used to tracking back and doing those things.

He's good between the 20s. Yeah, but hey, listen, I'm no expert by any stretch of the imagination, but I follow it, and I'm a fan. All right, well, we're going to talk more about it.

All right, Mike Elko, the head coach at Duke, he's an Arsenal fan. My friend Jay will be very happy. Vroom is the better way to buy and sell used cars. Looking for your next ride? Go to now to shop thousands of cars right from your phone. With Vroom, you never have to haggle or negotiate the price of the car, so you know you're getting a good deal. Best of all, when you buy a car on Vroom, they'll deliver it straight to you. Plus, all cars on come with a 90-day limited warranty and one year of nationwide roadside assistance. You can also sell or trade in your old car, too. When you sell your car on Vroom, you get an instant offer in as little as two minutes. If you decide to sell your car to Vroom, they'll come pick it up free of charge. Sell your car to Vroom or trade it in if you find something you like on Vroom, it's the better way to buy and sell used cars. So head to now to see what your current ride is worth and check out thousands of cars to find your next one. That's
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-07-26 21:17:32 / 2023-07-26 21:26:59 / 9

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