After being spurned in its attempt to hire LSU’s Dave Aranda as defensive coordinator, Texas A&M will bring aboard Notre Dame’s Mike Elko.
Irish coach Brian Kelly wished Elko well in a tweet Thursday afternoon.
Mike Elko pic.twitter.com/jk6uq2T0Qj
— Brian Kelly (@CoachBrianKelly) January 4, 2018
New A&M coach Jimbo Fisher is quite familiar with Elko, who was with the Irish for one season. Before moving to Notre Dame, Elko served as Wake Forest’s defensive coordinator for three seasons. Florida State plays Wake Forest annually because both are members of the ACC’s Atlantic Division. Before going to Wake, Elko was defensive coordinator at Bowling Green for five seasons.
Elko’s defense are known for being aggressive, forcing turnovers and being strong on the back end. A&M has had issues with its secondary for the past few seasons, and hiring Elko should help in that regard.
A&M made two runs at Aranda, but he ended up getting a raise, to $2.5 million per season, to remain at LSU. Coincidentally, what will turn out to be Elko’s last game at Notre Dame was a 20-17 win over LSU in the Citrus Bowl.
Notre Dame improved from 61st in scoring defense in 2016 to 31st this season; the Irish also forced six more turnovers this season than in ’16.
He should have more talent to work with at A&M than he did at Notre Dame and certainly more than he did at Wake Forest. But there is work to be done: The Aggies surrendered 30.7 points per game this season, and this was the fourth time in five years they allowed more than 400 yards per game. The run defense has been especially bad. A&M was 71st nationally in rush defense this season – the Aggies’ best figure in the past five seasons.
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