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COLTS: Luck's Light's Been Burning Bright

Posted Oct 10, 2012

Transcript of conference calls by Indianapolis' Andrew Luck and Bruce Arians with Jets reporters on Wednesday afternoon:

COLTS QB ANDREW LUCK

On the emotion of Sunday’s win…

Yeah, obviously it was a big game with what Coach [Chuck] Pagano was going through. I’m very happy and glad to get a win.

On if he has to guard against feeling too many emotions from last Sunday…

Absolutely. I think we’ve passed the point of thinking about what happened last weekend. We’re completely focused on the Jets. We realize we have to stay even keeled, sort of steady throughout, emotionally, physically, mentally and prepare for a fight.

On anything clicked in the second half that made him feel he took a step forward Sunday…

I don’t think I had any revelations or momentous “aha" moments. I think it was just maybe a little extra focus on the offense and good things started happening.

On his progress…

I think as a team we’ve gotten better each week. Personally, I think I’ve gotten better each week and that’s a good sign. I think we haven’t played perfect football by any means. We’ll still continue to try and get better and get to that point. I think as long as we’re improving and hopefully getting wins, then we’re on the right track.

On WR Reggie Wayne…

Yeah, he’s been great. He’s not going to sit young guys down, sit me down, and lecture me and tell me this is the way it is and this is how we do it. He doesn’t lead with that style. He’s much more sort of just go out there and do his job, do it unbelievably well, leads by example, and if you have questions he’ll answer them. But he’s done a great job. I think it’s just showing myself, young guys, how to work, how to operate, how to be a professional, and obviously watching him perform on gameday is special.

On if he has gone to the hospital to visit Coach Pagano…

I have not been by the hospital, just been texting back and forth with him and trying to support him. We’re all trying to support him in this unbelievable fight.

On the Jets defense…

Obviously, their record maybe isn’t indicative of how well they’re playing defensively. I think they do a great job creating turnovers. It’s a tough scheme to wrap your head around with Coach Ryan and his history. It’ll be tough sledding.

On if he thinks the coaching staff put too much on his plate at the beginning of the season…

I think Coach Arians wouldn’t put anything on anybody’s plate that he didn’t think they could handle. They’ve done a great job, the coaches, of preparing all of the players with this offense to be successful on gameday. I’ve enjoyed everything he has asked me to do. I shouldn’t say everything — some of the things we’ve talked about and said, "OK, maybe we can’t do that this week. This is a little too much."

I think it’s great that we have communication on that level about the offense and I’m still trying to learn every week. I know that’s very cliché, but I think as a first-year quarterback, it’s imperative to just get better. You learn more and keep on grinding.

On if there is a difference in the speed of the game from college…

I would say yes, especially with the linebackers who can run with the tight ends or running backs, whoever that might be. The speed of the linebackers.

On if he’s faced a defense that reminds him of the Jets…

I guess the Packers in a sense and what we faced in training camp. Our Colts defense with sort of multiple looks, the 3-4 style, so those two.

On if it is a learning experience getting used to the spotlight in Indianapolis…

Yeah, it is. I think it’s been great, the support the team has had, that I have had this year, considering the circumstances. It’s been great. I haven’t felt like I’ve been living in too much of a fishbowl. They let me be when I’m out to eat or walking around, whatever that may be. It’s been a very pleasant experience. I’ve really enjoyed it.

On the role his father has played during his rookie year…

He’s been great. He’s always sort of let the coaches do the coaching and he handles the fathering aspects. I think he’s enjoyed talking about his rookie training camp experience to me or what it was like, the first big hit he took. I think he enjoys reliving some of those experiences, too.

COLTS INTERIM HEAD COACH BRUCE ARIANS

On if business is back to usual this week following the emotional win Sunday…

Oh, it has to be. For the players, they got 48 hours, for the coaches it was 24. It has to be full focus to the next ballgame or you’re going to get beat. So I think everybody realizes that and came in this morning and had very good meetings and had a good walkthrough.

On if the players are focused…

I think they’re very focused. I think they’re proud of an accomplishment, but they know that one accomplishment doesn’t get it done. That was a huge one, but it was more about getting Chuck [Pagano] the gameball than a football game. They got that done. Now they have to go win football games.

On if Coach Ryan’s defense is the same this year as in years passed…

Yeah, it’s the same. Rex and I’ve been going at each other for so long. Yeah, they’re big, they’re physical, they want to take out the running game, make you throw the football, get you one-dimensional and then come after you. It’s the same thing I hear Chuck say to our defense all the time. They’ve always been great. Probably the guy I respect as much in this league as anybody is Rex, having battled against him, and we’ve had some great ones. And I mean, he’s an innovative guy, but he’s tough, physical, plays the game the way it’s supposed to be played.

On if the light clicked on for Andrew Luck on Sunday…

No, that light’s been on with him. It’s getting the light to click on the other 10 guys. His light’s been burning bright since he got here. He’s an unusual person, an unusual player at his age. But the other 10 guys are starting to pick it up. Because there are times we’ll have six rookies out there offensively, so I’m not worried about Andrew as those other 10 guys, make sure they’re running the right page.

On if he knew right away that he could put more on Luck’s plate than a normal rookie quarterback…

No, it was probably the second interview before the draft. Sitting down and talking football with him, how easily he got it and grasped it and could give it back to you. Then I saw him a month later, asked him the same questions, without any prep, and he remembered everything. And this is a very special mind that you’re dealing with here. Without all the physical tools, the mind was unbelievable. So that said, if we take this guy, we can really, we can go, we can throw the playbook at him. We can’t play so fast that the rest of the kids can’t learn it, because he learns it so easily.

On if he has visited Coach Pagano in the hospital…

Yeah, I spent a long time there on Friday and then we talked after the ballgame and again yesterday for a while and a little bit of texting this morning. I think we have to watch how much we go after him because his strength right now is critical. He’s watching every practice, he’s got his iPad streaming, and if he sees something, he’ll text me. Mostly by text, that’s the easiest way, and if it’s a big thing, we’ll call each other when he feels good enough to talk.

On if Pagano contributes mid-practice or after practice…

It’s after practice when the video’s streamed to him on his iPad and he watches it. We’ll be in our meetings and he’ll have Greg [Manusky] text him about what he saw on defense and [Marwan] Maalouf on special teams and me on everything. So it’s fun to have him that active. I think it’s helping him.

On how Luck compares to Peyton Manning…

I think very favorable. They’re both really bright players who are cerebral quarterbacks who can throw the football. I think Andrew’s athletic ability shocks some people, shocks me at times, some of the things he can do athletically. We never attempted the no-huddle. Now we gave Peyton a ton of check-with-me’s and he had two or three plays in the huddle as a rookie. But to actually go do the no-huddle, we didn’t even develop it until his second year.

But Andrew’s had the opportunity to go to Peyton’s camp, be around Peyton as a counselor at his camp. Peyton didn’t have that. So he’s got a lot of his mannerisms. If you’re at our practice, sometimes I look, I say, "What’s Peyton doing here?" because of the mannerisms he has from emulating him. So he’s fortunate in that way.

On the difference between defending Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow

Well, yeah, that kind of answers itself. I mean, it's two different ones. You've got to stop Shonn [Greene] and you have to stop Mark and the vertical passing game. But more than anything, you have to stop Shonn Greene. When Tim is in there, you’re playing the option, you’re playing the Wildcat, so you've got to have a defense prepared for both. It does stress you during the week. We’ll have an extra walkthrough for it and go after them.

On how much time he devotes to preparing for the Wildcat…

If you don’t have a plan for it, they can run you out of the stadium with it. So it’s not an equal amount, but it’s pretty darn close. Because you have to talk about it, you have to walk through it, and of course you have to practice all the passing game with Mark and their normal offense, so it takes away some of your practice time.

On what has made Reggie Wayne so effective this season…

He’s a phenomenal athlete. He’s always in great condition. I think he’s embraced the role of being able, of getting into the slot, play flanker, not knowing where everybody was. You know, he was out there on the left side for 10 years. It was funny because during OTAs he really had to learn how to run routes the other direction on the right side and get his feet right. It took him a while and he worked his tail off. Then I put him in the slot and he had to start reading coverages and everything. But he’s such a pro and he’s so smart, he knows how to get open. It’s been a benefit to him. I think he’s embraced it totally now.

On how much having Wayne to lean on has helped Luck …

Not just Andrew, the other four wide receivers in the room are rookies, basically. Plus Donnie Avery’s brand new. So Reggie has done an unbelievable job all through the spring, getting those kids together in the summertime and Andrew and throwing. Then showing them what a professional athlete is, on and off the field, in the meeting rooms, and especially on the practice field. But you can’t put a word on his leadership role. He is the true leader of the offense.

On if it’s nice to return to his home state…

Oh yeah, I still have a lot of family in Jersey, a lot of uncles and aunts and cousins. Usually I get to see most of them. My one cousin used to have Jets season tickets. I’d always go out in the parking lot and see him, all the years we’d come to the stadium. But not this year.

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