NFL: Colts' Luck ready for new version of old offense
Indianapolis • Andrew Luck can't wait to get back to work, even though he knows it won't be the same.
The Colts' locker room will have plenty of new names and faces. Bruce Arians isn't around, so Indy's second-year quarterback will be working with a new offensive coordinator. Instead of wondering where he'll be playing in the fall or completing classes to earn his architectural degree, Luck can spend the entire offseason working with his teammates.
He's ready to get started.
"I think we've all been chomping at the bit since the last game," Luck said, referring to January's playoff loss at Baltimore. "It's nice to be back in town and seeing the guys trickle in."
On Monday, the veterans will be streaming into the team's west side complex for their first team meeting of the 2013 season.
Before getting back to football, though, Luck was taking care of other business in Indianapolis launching "Change The Play," a campaign intended to help children stay active and make healthy nutritional choices. Luck is working through Riley Hospital for Children and spent two hours Saturday going through exercises with about 50 kids at the Indiana University Health Sports Performance center.
He wasn't alone.
Luck brought along several teammates including running back Vick Ballard, left tackle Anthony Castonzo, defensive tackle Josh Chapman and receiver Griff Whalen. Also attending were IndyCar driver Charlie Kimball, who has a weekend off from racing, and Juergen Sommer, a Indiana University alum who was an American goalkeeper on two World Cup teams in the 1990s.
Of course, Luck was the star attraction.
"What sport would I play if I couldn't play football? I'd love to play soccer," he said when one of the children asked. "I grew up in Europe, so soccer was a big sport over there."
Here, he's an emerging NFL star.
Last season, Luck produced one of the best rookie seasons ever by a quarterback. He orchestrated one of the greatest one-year turnarounds in NFL history, as the Colts improved from 2-14 in 2011 to 11-5 and made a shocking return to the playoffs. He also set NFL rookie records for attempts (627) and yards passing (4,374) and most yards passing in a single game (433), broke Peyton Manning's franchise rookie mark for completions (354) and finished third all-time among rookies with 23 TD passes. Afterward, he earned a trip to the Pro Bowl, where he teamed up with Manning on the AFC team.
So how does a high-profile quarterback spend his first pro offseason?
"I took some time off, relaxed, worked on Change The Play and got back to work," he said.
And when he gets back to the office this week, there will be plenty to do.
It starts with learning a new offense. Instead of relying on Arians' vertical passing game, new offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton will implement his version of the West Coast offense with a power running game.
While some young quarterbacks struggle to adapt to major offensive changes, Luck has a built-in advantage. He worked with Hamilton at Stanford and ran a similar offense with the Cardinal, so he already knows the concepts and the playbook.
"I think it's the Colts offense, but it will be good," Luck said when asked about comparing it to the Stanford offense. "I'm excited to get to work with him [Hamilton]. I think it will be good to not have to learn a whole new thing."