ANDERSON, Ind. —
This week marks another NFL first for Andrew Luck — a bye.
And for one of the few times in his brief career, the rookie quarterback seemed a bit unsure about what exactly he should do.
“I don’t think I’ve earned the right to take five days completely off,” he said midweek at the Indianapolis Colts’ practice facility. “I’ll make sure to relax a little. In talking to (quarterbacks coach) Clyde (Christensen) and (backup quarterback) Drew (Stanton), you realize it is a long season and you want to make sure you are fresh throughout the whole thing.”
Reports were Luck headed to Morgantown, W. Va., for the weekend where he could visit his family — including his father, Oliver, the athletic director at West Virginia University.
The Colts and the Pittsburgh Steelers drew the earliest possible bye this year, but there are benefits.
Luck missed almost all of the team’s offseason work while he was finishing his degree in architectural design at Stanford. As a result, he’s been playing catchup since joining the team full-time in June.
This week gives Luck, and the rest of the Colts, a rare chance to breathe.
“Some guys you want to get in their books,” Christensen said. “I just really think he needs to get away from it and relax and let down for a second. It has been a long haul from training camp, and we’ve got a grind ahead of us. Those 13 weeks in a row will be a long haul so the best thing he can do is get away from me and football and just rest and relax and let his brain shut down and do something fun for a couple days, and then we’ll go back to work on Monday.”
Luck’s first three professional starts have drawn mixed results.
He led a 45-yard drive to set up Adam Vinatieri’s 53-yard, game-winning field goal in Week 2 against Minnesota. And he was named the Pepsi MAX NFL Rookie of the Week after throwing for 313 yards and two touchdowns last week against Jacksonville.
But Indianapolis has just one win, and the sting from the 22-17 upset loss to the Jaguars still hasn’t completely worn off.
“Obviously we want to be sitting here 3-0,” Luck said. “I realize that is not the case. 2-1 would be better than 1-2. I think we are getting better. Every bit of game experience helps and realize too that you can’t lose focus for a quarter-and-a-half in a game. Take those as learning experiences and hopefully bounce back next week.”
Luck’s individual numbers have been good and bad.
He has 846 passing yards and is averaging a solid 282 per game. He’s also thrown five touchdown passes and looks like a veteran running the team’s two-minute drill.
But he’s already thrown 122 passes (an average of more than 40 per game) and completed just 53.3 percent. His four interceptions are inflated by a three-pick game in the opener at Chicago, but Luck will be the first to admit he’s turned the ball over too often.
The key lies in learning from the mistakes and making sure not to repeat the same errors in the future.
In that regard, Luck has earned high marks across the board.
“He’s got big enough shoulders to handle the situation that he’s in right now,” head coach Chuck Pagano said. “He’s not one to bemoan or let it linger.”
There’s no time for that, anyway.
Indianapolis returns from the bye with an Oct. 7 home game against the Green Bay Packers, then it’s a road trip to meet the New York Jets.
If the offense hasn’t solved its second-half struggles by then, the Colts will be staring at a 1-4 start and thoughts quickly will shift from darkhorse playoff contention to improving draft position.
The rookie quarterback is thinking none of these thoughts.
He’s aware of the mistakes he’s made — citing a third-down opportunity he threw behind receiver Donnie Avery against Jacksonville last week as a specific example — but he’s excited about the chance to make up for them.
If Luck has shown anything in his early days in Indianapolis, it’s uncanny resiliency.
He’s taken accountability for his role in the Colts’ 1-2 start, and his coaches don’t believe any of the mistakes will haunt Luck into next weekend.
“He’s not a guy that’s going to beat himself up and you look in two weeks for a bad game coming up,” Pagano said. “That’s just not Andrew’s mentality. That’s not in his DNA.”
He doesn't think he's earned the break
ANDERSON, Ind. —
This week marks another NFL first for Andrew Luck — a bye.
Cottrell, Buck win regional titles
It didn’t take long for Pendleton Heights junior Kiawna Cottrell to stake her claim to a spot in the girls track state finals at Tuesday night’s North Central Regional.
On her first attempt at the long jump, the Arabians met the state standard of 17 feet, 4 inches.
“That started the night out right,” Pendleton Heights coach Melissa Hagerman said.
It only got better from there.
Eagles soar into sectional final
On a warm and windy Tuesday evening, four teams hit the field at Frankton with a chance to play for the Sectional 40 softball championship. The host Frankton Eagles grabbed the first spot in the final with a dominating 24-0 win over Winchester.
PH’s 3 homers lift softball team
Pendleton Heights hit a trio of home runs and Arabians starting pitcher Bailey Benefiel came within two outs of a no-hitter in a softball sectional semifinal here Tuesday evening.
The PH clouts came from Sarah Dixon, Elizabeth Sigler and Jordan Dean, and they covered everything but a grand slam as the Arabians bounced New Castle 15-2. PH will play in today’s championship game at 7:30 p.m., against Greenfield-Central.
Ken de la Bastide: Stellar field for Little 500
Since returning to Indiana in 1973 there have been very few Pay Less Little 500 races that I’ve missed in 50 years, but the field for the 65th running on Saturday can only be described as stellar.
Harter wins Red Haven Award
Matt Harter’s hours aren’t filled with longing and dreaming. They are filled with action and accomplishment.
The Anderson High School senior’s activities in and out of the competitive arenas, earned him the 2013 Red Haven Award during Tuesday’s Anderson Noon Exchange Club meeting at The Edge.
PH’s run ends at regional
Pendleton Heights faced two powerful opponents Tuesday in the girls tennis regional at Marion — 16th-ranked Delta (21-2) and winds gusting to 30 mph.
The combination was too much to overcome in a 5-0 loss that ended the most successful season in school history.
Cowan bounces Broncos in Class A opener
A pitching change helped propel Cowan past Daleville in the softball sectional at Liberty Christian on Tuesday.
Experienced Heat, upstart Pacers ready to go
Dwyane Wade’s rookie season ended with a playoff loss to the Indiana Pacers. The next year, the Miami Heat were headed to the Eastern Conference finals and certain that an NBA championship was in their sights.
That’s when Wade learned a valuable lesson: Never take playoff chances for granted.
Arabians follow Vellinga's lead
If the student-athletes who took the field in Monday night’s sectional softball action needed a bit of motivation, they could have looked to pitcher’s circle at Legends Field where Andrea Vellinga stood and threw out the ceremonial first pitch.
Pendleton Heights battled Richmond in the opening game, as the Arabians ran past the Red Devils 10-0 in five innings. Game 2 featured Anderson and New Castle, with the Indians getting trounced 10-1.
Bulldogs outslug Raiders in Class 2A thriller
Shenandoah sent 24 batters to the plate and scored nine runs in the final three innings of its Class 2A softball sectional opener Monday at Frankton.
And the Raiders (15-12) were the losing team.
Lapel (10-13) failed to reach base in 13 straight at-bats from the end of the second inning to start of the seventh and rallied from deficits in each of the final two innings to beat Shenandoah 12-11 in an eight-inning postseason classic.
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- Cottrell, Buck win regional titles