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Bruce Arians was variously quoted as allowing Andrew Luck to chose from within a packge at pre-snap and by audible. At Stanford, under Pep Hamilton--with a similar offensive scheme, Andrew Luck was given considerable sanction to change calls pre-snap and by audible. That was often touted by David Shaw and some of Luck's postgame interviews alluded to that flexibility--although Andrew's not a "me" person.
The changes, Luck's various improvements, that you cite are the result of the change in OC and the playbook. Of course, Luck doesn't have the whole playbook to call on a given play. CO alludes to the limitations of what's on the field--which is a distinct limitation. Pep Hamilton trusts Luck that much! Pep knows Luck that well. Hamilton alludes to that kind of trust in Andrew and Chuck Pagano has also mentioned that chemistry. There is no myth there. Luck is a very well known, very well publicized player. His play under Jim Harbaugh; his two (!) years as a Heisman candidate. Myth? Too well documented.
3 weeks, 1 day ago on Conversation @ http://coltsauthority.com/2014-articles/were-the-colts-really-run-first-in-2013.html
@BrianKlass Is everybody missing that Whalen's late season success as a return guy gives him added value over the guys who have only one role? Whalen's better than Austin Collie and he's probably of the same caliber as Welker and Amendola, but most of his critics compare him to the Hilton and Wayne type of receiver. In that puzzling comparison, of course, he's not making the grade. He's not as big as Nicks or Moncrief, not as fast as Moncrief, so his role has to be different.
Remember, Pep Hamilton was Stanford's OC when Griff Whalen was Andrew Luck's primary receiver in 2011. Hamilton has seen Whalen in all of those practices that Luck and Fleener allude to when they shrug off Griff's occasional stand-out plays as what Griff does. Hamilton has a NFL history as WR coach and can evaluate Whalen in that context. Whalen has shown that he can take a big NFL hit while making and holding a catch. He's not a direct comparison to the top-4 guys, nor to Rogers or Brazill. That's how he's being mis-evaluated by so many. Maybe the Colts need more of what the others bring, but that's the basis for comparison...the purposes to be met. He's still deceptively good as a return guy, and saving the smallish Hilton from extra hits is a useful thought.
1 month, 3 weeks ago on Conversation @ http://coltsauthority.com/uncategorized/colts-notebook-ballard-nicks-whalen-working-through-different-challenges.html
Rodgers is smaller and slower than Luck, whose size disguises his athleticism. Recall that Luck has very similar NFL Combine metrics as Cam Newton. Prior to Seattle's game against Indy, Richard Sherman told his defense to treat Luck like Newton; Sherman played with Luck at Stanford. That special stuff between the ears is what sets the elite QBs apart. Grant him that he seems to have the right stuff and his athleticism promises to make Luck into one of those elite. Andrew Luck is a better athlete (metrics) than the elites; that's a fascinating edge.
6 months, 2 weeks ago on Growing Up Before My Eyes
Sheesh, nobody mentions who made the tackle of Tamba Hali on his recovery of Richardson's fumble…it was Andrew Luck!
6 months, 2 weeks ago on Colts Advance after a Wild Comeback, 45-44 over the Chiefs
Kyle has his dogma, his fantasy, about the Colts. He has a penchant for glossing over the changes from last year. Yes, Andrew Luck had his slump last year. His improvement, his "progress", has been more about a different playbook that uses his abilities more fully, a playbook that he'd mastered at Stanford. The bolstered offensive line is another nice aspect of his "progress". Indy's defense this year is a talent upgrade from last year. Maybe "exceptional" is only a tad extravagant; they're playing well despite injury disruptions.
As for the "run-first" self-description that Kyle's made into a goad, that is what it is. Ball control is what Hamilton and Luck are attempting; they want to have the ability to burn clock when they choose. The ability to keep a high-scoring opposing QB, like Peyton, on the sidelines is a much-valued result. The defense also rests while Luck's on the field. The recent San Diego fiasco is an example of that approach being used against Indy; it worked. In that game, the defense couldn't get off the field, couldn't get the ball back, and Andrew could only watch from the sidelines.
Until Indy figures how to adjust for the loss of Reggie, the ground game is their staple. Don't confuse their lack of yardage, especially in the early quarters, with futility. As the Colts offensive linemen have been saying, they want to beat on the defense to wear them down for the 4th quarter; they've bought into Hamilton's mindset. Luck is already onboard. Kyle doesn't like this approach although he'll get his mileage from his contrarian viewpoint. The only instances where I'd tend to question Hamilton's tactics--in light of his strategy--is when he gets a nice 6/7-yard run on first down and then calls two questionable pass attempts for three-and-out. He's done this more than not. When he veers from a successful ground game, he gets too cute. Maybe he's trying to keep the defense honest, maybe he's trying to give his receiver's some action, but "three-and-out" is a too-common result. If it ain't broke, why break it yourself?
8 months, 3 weeks ago on The BP Watch: The Colts Are Not 5-2 "Because They Are Run-First"
@cmccollo Remember that Indy only carries one FB.
Also, many sports writers lost track, or never knew, of the 2010 Stanford season, Jim Harbaugh's last year, when Luck was their #2 rusher, >500 yds. in 13 games; he had 3 runs ≥50 yds.
8 months, 3 weeks ago on Andrew Luck's Houdini Moments: An Escapist's Archive
Oregon and UCLA are tied, 14-14, at halftime. Meh. Oregon is typically a 2nd-half team. UCLA knows that. Game on.
8 months, 4 weeks ago on PAC 12
@smonroe Two-thirds of the season remains. There's no way to know which receiver will go down next. There's not going to be another Reggie Wayne available. How much should be spent for how much potential help at receiver? That's possibly a reason to turn to Whalen and his familiarity with the playbook. "Big play" isn't the first need that occurs to Pep Hamilton if Hilton and DHB are healthy and Brazill is back. They have time to see what might shake out later in the season.
9 months ago on More Roster Moves: Colts Waive TE Dominique Jones, Cut FB Robert Hughes from Practice Squad
Well, Barry J. Sanders just scored the first TD of his college career. It has begun.
9 months, 3 weeks ago on PAC 12
@corr99 This shows how tough Jeff Tuel was last year, and Taylor Kelly last week.
That had to hurt. Halliday gets blotted and throws a pick-six at the same time. Game over? Wonder how much longer Halliday will last.
Stanford's Barry J. Sanders just had his first significant carry. Took a pass in the slot and juked 3 defenders before finally gaining 16 yards after catch. It begins.
There's a lot of leftover dogma about Stanford football's team slowness. Last year, the defense's speed was displayed against Oregon. Today's TV announcers started by mentioning Stanford lack of speed on offense. Stanford's lead RB Tyler Gaffney is faster than Stepfan Taylor, last year's star RB. Now the top 3 Stanford WRs have just shown that they're faster than WSU's secondary. Yeesh! Rumors die slow.
Those are the details of how Indy "out-physicaled" SF. Indy's secondary also didn't have to fear any deep speed. Davis' injury took out SF's last deep threat. Harbaugh had brainlock in the 2nd half and backed off of a ground game that was working. He stopped it, not Indy. He knows that now.
The NFL has solved the read-option. Ask the Eagles' Rich Kelly. Without a ground game, without open receivers, Kaepernick was stuck. Harbaugh must've been in shock to see Indy (Hamilton and Luck) beating SF with the Stanford play book; no mystery, just execution. SF's only hope had been abandoned when their ground game was shelved--by Harbaugh. Indy was probably going to win anyway but SF lost time of possession by too much and Harbaugh stood and watched it happen. That exuberant spike by Andrew Luck when he scored on his bootleg was a clear "mission accomplished" gesture.
BTW, Ben Savage, this was NFL Week 4.
9 months, 4 weeks ago on All-22: Defense, Week 3 vs 49ers.
@BDiddy Isn't it better to waive a flag than to miss, or not call, a penalty? It's a refreshing alternative. Many times another ref has a better angle and can correct the flag thrower. That's why they have multiple refs. Isn't this how it's meant to work?
10 months ago on Surprise! The Colts Throttle San Francisco, 27-7
@MarcusDugan With Dwayne Allen out, that extra beef is the alternative, especially against the Niners. Be advised, Pep Hamilton likes to use that much beef in his variations. Pagano likes that because it offers extra protection options for his franchise QB. Stanford did that in Harbaugh's time and still does that, in spades. They use linemen in receiver's numbers as blocking backs.
@BDiddy Richardson is currently a more complete back than Brown, as you saw against the Dolphins. He's also the fastest of the trio. He'll do fine. Indy's playbook can be a challenge in the first week although he was necessarily spoonfed. That threesome is much better than could've been hoped after Ballard went down. Pep Hamilton knows how to use multiple backs and prefers that when possible. Luck has the smarts to register who's on the field for which plays and as well as their skillsets. There's no down side to this situation, as the SF game shows.
Delano Howell isn't the supreme NFL athlete physically but he was a defensive captain and the anchor of Stanford's undermanned secondary during Luck's era. He's smart and doesn't make many errors. He's not spectacular; he's steady and dependable and makes plays. He's a prize backup and not a big dropoff if a starter is hurt, and he's probably better than some starters on other teams.
@54 If Stanford played in the SEC, the conference would have ejected Stanford for not running up the score. That definitely was not SEC football, a total disgrace! :-)
10 months ago on PAC 12
@corr99 @Jayjaybe As I mentioned earlier, that gap since ASU last met Stanford was meaningful. The difference between Stanford and other teams is real physicality. ASU needed to get past that 1st half shock. They did. But you don't win games by shoulda-woulda-coulda; you only get "didn't".
@corr99 @Jayjaybe That running is why Hogan became the starter, although Andrew Luck would've scored on that run.
Actually, this change of momentum is Shaw's fault. He didn't want the players to ease up, and then he takes Hogan out? That's why betting spreads aren't easy when gauging Stanford. Shaw doesn't think like SEC coaches.
12 on the field? No wonder they're standing up to Stanford.
That's the clincher. Against some other teams, maybe ASU would still have a chance. Stanford's defense is better than any on the rest of ASU's schedule.
Even if ASU doesn't win, their 2nd half effort should be their standard and that will make them formidable in the PAC-12. The 1st-half shock of Stanford's smashmouth style was a one-time deal. After Stanford, everyone else will be manageable.
It takes a team effort to beat Stanford. Kelly isn't getting enough help.
Yes, ASU has decided to play for pride! That's what it's about.
Stanford hadn't been on ASU's schedule for a few years. This is what they've missed. There are a lot of SEC teams that have been content to miss playing against Stanford too. Nobody should have misread that Stanford-Army game. Army was 2-10 last year--but led the nation in rushing at the same time. That's enigmatic, nothing to translate for other teams.
Whoa! Stanford 20-0 early in the 2nd Qtr? Against Stanford's defense, can ASU make up those points?
That's the ticket. Kelly has to be a runner too. That'll keep the defense honest.
Don't know how often ASU will see this again but they're being introduced to Stanford's "Party in the backfield" defense. We'll see how this goes.
At about an hour before kickoff, Stanford had a heavy downpour that was apparently the trailing end of the rains. Radar shows that the game should be dry--although the field will still be wet. Wonder whether special cleat lengths will be needed. In 2011, Stanford was victimized by its own wet field and that led to a complete resodding with different grass. We'll see. Maybe the drainage is good enough to minimize the wetness. Predicted winds are now less brisk, <10 mph, but enough to help drying conditions. Game on!
The "illegal shift" penalty that nullified Fleener's 2nd TD was a phantom infraction. Dan Fouts, the CBS Color Commentator--and HOF QB, couldn't find any replay camera angles that showed a possible penalty. If a ref misread Reggie Wayne's motion, the NFL front office will probably issue an "oops, oh well" mention on Monday.
10 months, 1 week ago on Colts Fall Short Against Miami, 24-20
@smoke195160 Unless the wearer is green or yellow, contrast is the rule not the exception.
10 months, 1 week ago on PAC 12
@Bulldawg Bob2 UCLA has the toughest defense south of Stanford. Hundley is as much of a threat as any other QB in the conference. The Bruins should give ASU more than the Sun Devils can handle.
10 months, 2 weeks ago on PAC 12
@corr99 Marketing. A pretty face has virtue in front of cameras. Hung up his cleats and reached for his razor--and found a good barber.
@corr99 Mariota's getting put on a pedestal that he didn't earn last year. He got caught from behind by a backup safety on that long run. Trent Murphy caught him from behind in the backfield for one of Murphy's two sacks. DAT was held in check, as well as Barner, and that was at Autzen. Oregon's defense can't stop Stanford's offense well enough to give its offense the ball. Stanford forces Oregon to be good on both sides of the ball. Stanford's defense matches up with the Ducks offense. Oregon's defense won't do as well as last year.
@corr99 Nunes wasn't at fault for the ND game. He had at least 4 on-target, in-the-hands drops and two of those drops were points of the board which would've avoided OT. Nunes wasn't the play caller for the UW game, Shaw and Hamilton wanted to keep pounding the box without success. That's where Gaffney would've made the difference. The problem that Oregon had with Stanford was two-fold, The Ducks couldn't move the rock. Mariota's 77-yd run resulted in no score. Minus that run, the Ducks didn't do much. Oregon's defense couldn't stop Stanford's non-juggernaut offense. Stanford won time of position by more than 15 minutes, more than a quarter! Stanford's offense will be better by Nov. 7. Stanford's defense is already better than last year. Stanford had one of the best run defenses in the nation last year and was tops in sacks, nationally. In the shadow of that game, there's a lot of whistling past the graveyard in Eugene.
@corr99 Dynamic offenses? Doesn't Oregon fit that description? The kinks are there to be worked out but Montgomery's starting to look like the guy who showed so much promise in the 2012 Fiesta Bowl. At that time, he was starting to look like a clone of Marqise Lee, but his injury last year really sidetracked him. Also, Gaffney is looking like the primary replacement for Stepfan Taylor. If Gaffney hadn't left for pro baseball, Stanford wouldn't have lost to UW nor ND last season. The reality is that SJSU finished higher ranked last year than 9 PAC-12 teams, higher than Arizona. David Fales is better than most of the PAC-12 QBs.
@corr99 Stanford hasn't had an adequate receiver corps since 2009. Each year since, they didn't replace their graduated good receivers, neither in numbers nor performance. That cost Andrew Luck the Heisman twice. That's also why Stanford has a "run-first" offense; it's tight ends were the passing game for the past two seasons. It looks like Shaw is trying to give Ty Montgomery lots of feel for the action. Hogan's looking more nervous this year than last year.
@corr99 Stanford's defense was the key last season. Can't beat Stanford if you can't score. The offense still needs to learn to use its new weapons. The running game is still good. Hogan looks like he's new to the passing chapters of their playbook. Last season, Ertz was his primary receiver--and RB Stepfan Taylor was #2. Hogan needs to use his wide receivers better. Of course, SJSU's secondary is very good.
Stanford's starting to work out the rust, leading 14-3 early 2nd Qtr. Running game is starting to take hold but 1st TD was 40-yd pass to Cajuste.
Halftime, Oregon 28-10. In most of their games, the Ducks ramp it up another gear in the 2nd half. Let's see how it goes against UVa.
@TrueBlue Pep and Andrew worked with multiple RBs in Luck's final year at Stanford. Each back had slightly different strengths...however, all were good pass protectors. Brown will earn his share of time. If you've seen his upside, they've seen it too. BTW, time of possession, ball control, is one strength of Hamilton's no-coast offense; Luck knows that his counterpart can't score if Indy has the ball. With that thought, wouldn't it seem practical to spread the load with multiple rotations in the backfield? That's what Luck did with Pep's scheme at Stanford. Versatility on offense is demanding on the opposing defense especially since Luck will exploit what the defense can handle least.
11 months ago on Preseason Recap: Colts 27, Browns 6
@paulcareyjr @Jayjaybe I'll be circumspect and tend to agree. Weeden's not a kid anymore; he'll be 30 before Halloween. Still, Andrew Luck couldn't win the Heisman, twice, for the lack of receivers. Luck's arm also couldn't win the respect of many talking heads (re: Phil Sims) because his defenses kept getting the ball back with short fields and he lacked the deep speed receivers as well. "NFL mediocre" for Weeden isn't a certainty yet but the trend is there.
11 months ago on Quick Reaction: Colts beat the Browns in Week 3 of the preseason
It was good to see Griff Whalen's healed enough to get his chances. Yep, he's a possession receiver. But at the end the season, if all stay healthy, it's likely that Whalen will be 3rd or 4th in receiving productivity, including clutch catches. Luck trusts him and their chemistry is real. Whalen was durable in college but can he survive in the NFL like Welker, longer and healthier than Collie?
@paulcareyjr Give Weeden some class receivers. At Ok. St., he and Justin Blackmon, among others, ate up the defenses, including Stanford. Luck's last college game was a loss to Weeden and Blackmon in the Fiesta Bowl.
@Cardislegit You could tell that Ted had shot his wad in the "best case" scenario. His heart just wasn't in the rest of that write-up. Tough job. He needs to work on his stamina. :-)
11 months ago on PAC 12
@Mike McCoy NIce. Andrew Luck never had that quality of receiving corps and that was a big reason that he lost the Heisman twice. So, this clip doesn't include footage of the Stanford game. Marcus kept getting caught from behind in the game, including in the backfield. That 77 yarder didn't lead to a score. However, it's hard to not believe that Mariota learned from that game. He should have a great year, with or without a visit to the NCG.
@matt_has Kyle's hardly the first blogger to notice this skill in Luck. On another network, a couple of weeks ago, a video segment was shown of several such throws, left-side and right-side. Of course, he did this in college but he lacked receiving talent in quantity like he has at Indy and he never had a counterpart to Hilton. That lack of big-time receivers during his last two years cost him the Heisman--twice. Folks should take care in comparing Luck's performance under Arians versus under Hamilton. Arians didn't know Andrew Luck's everyday abilities at the start; Hamilton already knows Luck, well.
11 months ago on GIFtastic: Andrew Luck shows why he's so unique in the Colts' win over the Giants
@DougEngland Fleener was fairly durable in college; he didn't miss a game in his last year although he was dinged by a helmet to the chin and left early in one game. Coby is the victim of media hype. He was the second-best TE at Stanford but the healthiest. Toilolo missed a year as a soph because of knee injury. Ertz missed 3 games in Fleener's last year. Dwayne Allen won the Mackey Award as the nation's best TE in 2011; Fleener wasn't the best TE on his own team, despite 10 TDs. Luck was his QB but Luck only had Griff Whalen as his primary WR; Fleener and Ertz were #2 and #3 receivers respectively. Fleener can be good but he's going to wear a bulls eye for NFL defenses. Hamilton and Luck will need to devise ways to best use Coby's skill set while he improves his weaknesses. That desperation pass that Hasselbeck threw into Fleener's back is on Matt. Coby was in a crowd; he was engaged with a Giants player when the ball bounced off his back. Fleener's route was being managed by the Giants. Andrew Luck doesn't make that throw.
11 months ago on Colts Notebook: Injury Updates, Unlikely Standouts, & a New Receiver Prospect
Marcus, I wonder what the fans' expectations are of Griff Whalen? He was Luck's primary receiver in 2011 at Stanford when injury sidelined their expected star, Chris Owusu, but his role was more like a Welker-Collie type. Hamilton's offense offers ball control under Luck, which is a defense in itself. Possession and moving the chains is what Whalen assured. With Austin Collie gone, why aren't fans seeing Whalen as his successor, with more speed actually? Whalen has been Luck's workout chum for several years. Within Hamilton's offense, Whalen and Luck read each other's minds. Fortunately, Pep Hamilton has been voicing his experience with Griff; Pagano's words on Whalen seemed informed by knowledge from others. Luck won't market his buddy Whalen but Pep already knows Griff. If Griff gets beat out by a better fit, Whalen--and Luck--will know that such judgement was fully informed.
11 months, 3 weeks ago on Colts Notebook: New Rules, Roster Moves, and Positive Reviews
@DougEngland , yep, there's also the not-so-insignificant aspect of the change of offenses. Luck will be a comfortable associate OC on the field. He ran no-huddle at Stanford under Hamilton--with a very similar offense. He has Hamilton's trust.
There's a blatant flaw in using last year's stats after the personnel and playbook changes. This is a different stat book to fill, and it should be fun to watch how it gets filled.
11 months, 3 weeks ago on Coordinated Bedlam: Is the No-Huddle Worth It?
@DougEngland , Andrew Luck is such an intense guy, much more introspective than normal. His facial expressions are often about himself. He's tough on himself first, and hardest. Kyle was hedging because of that aspect of Luck. While Avery may have earned disapproval, Luck may have been showing a self-critical expression. Coby Fleener, his college roommate, has often mentioned that trait, especially when Fleener had bouts of the dropsies.
12 months ago on Game Charting: Andrew Luck Outside the Pocket
@kendrickjones68 Wait until you see Griff Whalen play. He's a UFA signed last season but broke foot in preseason and spent the year on IR. Whalen was Luck's primary receiver at Stanford in 2011; he's a Welker/Collie type of receiver. Route running is his forte and his hands are reliable. He's healthy now and working out with Luck at Stanford. Plus, he'll know Pep's playbook style already.
1 year, 3 months ago on Tale of the Tape: A Few More Notes about Pep Hamilton's Offense
@RobertItoh If the Colts o-line had been stout at all, your notion would have merit. TEs were needed as blockers. Also, Arians' concept of a RB, per his own statements, does not configure a RB as a receiver--as a safety outlet, maybe. He wants them to take handoffs or block. Luck's protection was the crux of Arians scheme, along with the loss of Collie and Whalen. Reggie Wayne was too versatile and lacking backup to risk as a frequent replacement in Collie's role in the short middle.
@RobertItoh Arians didn't have the talent ensemble to exploit the shorter game, especially lacking Austin Collie or a similar receiver. At Stanford in 2011, Luck and Hamilton lacked the talent for a deep game until the end of that season. Fleener was the primary, reliable deep threat, as much for his hands as his height, but Luck had a run-first offense to manage. In that year, Luck's overall primary receiver was Griff Whalen, a Welker/Collie type, who happened to sign with the Colts as a UFA last season but spent the year on IR with a broken foot. Whalen's healthy now and working out with Luck at Stanford.