ANDERSON, Ind. — Pep Hamilton shared the story with a grin that suggested he wasn't sure he should be telling it.
The Indianapolis Colts open the preseason Sunday against the Buffalo Bills at Lucas Oil Stadium, and someone in the white media tent Friday morning asked the new offensive coordinator whether he's the type of coach who wants to see his quarterback "get jostled around" a bit to help settle into the season.
Hamilton laughed knowingly and began a story from his days at Stanford with Andrew Luck.
"It's funny that you say that, though, because when Andrew was in college, when I would approach him and ask him a couple days prior to the game, 'Hey give me an idea of what plays you'd like to start with,' and he would always say, 'Hey, early on I want to get hit to knock the butterflies out,'" he said. "He would actually do more of the hitting, should I say, if we ran a sprint out or a roll out. You could count on him not throwing the football and just tucking it and trying to run over a defensive back or a linebacker. By no means do we employ that strategy at this level."
The story drew laughter from the assembled media, but it's not hard to imagine. Especially for anyone who has watched any of Luck's highlight clips on You Tube.
The quarterback is notoriously unafraid of contact. He made a tackle against a Southern California defender following an offensive turnover that was so violent it knocked the football free from the runner's grasp.
One of last season's most indelible moments was Luck shrugging off Green Bay outside linebacker Clay Matthews on a third-down blitz, resetting himself and firing to wide receiver Reggie Wayne for a key first down during a game-winning drive in the fourth quarter.
It's easily lost in Luck's aerial prowess, but he rushed 62 times for 255 yards (an average of 4.1 yards per carry) and five touchdowns as a rookie. And coaches implored him throughout the season to slide or step out of bounds instead of taking on tacklers and trying gain an extra yard.
Following Friday's morning walkthrough at Anderson University, Luck denied he seeks out contact.
"Do I need to get hit?" he repeated a question and then laughed. "I don't think you need to get hit. I'll say sometimes it's nice to get hit once and sort of get that feeling out of the way. 'OK, it's football, here we go.' I guess part of the plan is getting hit. I think in a somewhat demented way, we sort of enjoy that."
All joking aside, Luck is taking a serious approach to his second preseason opener.
His first pass as a pro last season went for a 63-yard touchdown after a long run by running back Donald Brown. It's a moment that rose already soaring expectations for the rookie quarterback and one he still fondly recalls. Even while taking no credit for the play's success.
But the lead-in to this year's game is different.
Luck and the Colts aren't sneaking up on anyone this time around. The team has been wearing t-shirts throughout training camp with an image on the back of a hand grasping the Lombardi Trophy above the words "Hoist It."
There's no question about this team's expectations.
And Luck said that begins Sunday.
He'll likely be on the sideline before the first quarter ends, but he'll continue dialing in to each play call and imagining what he would do against the defensive set on the field.
And he'll remain just as invested in the game's final outcome.
"You want to go out and win anything you do, you're competitors," Luck said. "Preseason game or not, playing board games at home, I think most guys in this league are built to want to win at things. This is another competition which we'd love to win."