Wake Forest game serves as reunion for Notre Dame's Mike Elko

NOW: Wake Forest game serves as reunion for Notre Dame’s Mike Elko

With Wake Forest returning to Notre Dame Stadium for the first time since 2015, there are some holdovers for both teams. 

"It's a top five venue for college football, if not the top venue in terms of tradition," said Wake Forest quarterback John Wolford. "So, we're excited for the opportunity. We were there two years ago and it's an amazing atmosphere. They're doing really well right now, it's going to be fun."

However, there are a few strong ties between these teams and they run through the coaching staff.

This game holds a little more emotion as Notre Dame defensive coordinator Mike Elko has a reunion with his former team and head coach.

"Defensively, we know that they are going to be really well coached," said Wake Forest head coach Dave Clawson. "Mike has made a big impact there already. They are talented and play hard, fast and know what they are doing. He did a great job for me with four different programs. He's spent well over half of his career with me. He's doing a great job there and I'm proud of him."

Elko served as the defensive coordinator and safeties coach for the Demon Deacons for the past three seasons, and this will be the first time the two teams meet since the staff changes.

"I think there's obviously more excitement along with it," said Irish linebacker Greer Martini. "But I think the goal here has been to prepare for this team like we prepared for every other team."

That sentiment has been key for Notre Dame all season long, and Saturday's game will bring the exact same intensity no matter the relationship.

"Obviously he has relationships with those coaching staffs and those players that are important to him," said Martini. "That must be a dynamic for him. As a coach, we haven't really seen any difference from him. It's going to be the same Elko we get week in and week out."

And that perspective will be the case for both sidelines, because Wake Forest knows just how tough Elko's defense is to beat.

"I don't think they've given up more than 20 points this year, which I don't think any team in the country has done that," said Wolford. "I've gone against that defense for three years here at Wake. We know how they're coached and they're going to be good."

"On Saturday, we want to beat him and he wants to beat us," said Clawson. "We talk regularly, text after every game, but that will cease this week."

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