The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update

Pro Sports

September 8, 2013

Luck prepares for second time around


Coming from a royal bloodline — he’s the fourth Stanford quarterback to be picked No. 1 overall — greatness was demanded of Luck from Day 1. He delivered with seven game-winning drives, four fourth-quarterback comebacks and a rookie record 4,374 passing yards.

But Washington’s Robert Griffin III — just as he had in the Heisman Trophy balloting the year before — beat Luck out for Offensive Rookie of the Year honors. Critics pointed to Luck’s low completion percentage (54.1) and high interception (18) numbers.

But they missed how easily he stepped into — and commanded — a high-risk vertical passing offense. The bulk of the Colts’ fortunes was placed on Luck’s shoulders each week, and he delivered 11 victories and an AFC wild card playoff berth.

Through three preseason appearances in 2013, he looks even better.

“For as much success as he had in Year 1, all the fourth-quarter comebacks and that type of thing, the game is slowing down for him even more,” head coach Chuck Pagano said. “From that standpoint, there’s a certain comfort level. He’s always had great command of the offense and the huddle, things like that. You can just see it growing and growing with each and every day.”

There’s been a calm around the quarterback since the first day of offseason training activities this spring. And he’s been efficient on the field — getting rid of the football quickly and making the right reads. New offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton’s offense is more progression-based than departed Bruce Arians’ scheme.

It takes advantage of Luck’s ability to quickly process information and predict where the openings in a defense will be. But the quarterback is hesitant to call the system a better fit than the offense he set records in a year ago.

“I don’t know, I learned a lot last year, and we had a chance to win some games,” he said. “But I am excited to be with Pep. I really respect and love playing for him, but football is football at the end of the day, too, no matter what scheme it is.”

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