News From Terre Haute, Indiana

May 24, 2013

Luck having fun with his first OTAs

Tom James
Tribune-Star correspondent

INDIANAPOLIS — A year ago, quarterback Andrew Luck was unable to attend the Indianapolis Colts’ organized team activity practices due to school commitments at Stanford.

Luck, though, went on to have a stellar year for the Colts despite the lack of summer work with the team. Still, in a sense, he is a rookie during this year’s OTA workouts.

“These are my first OTAs. I missed these last year, so I think it’s great. It’s great to get on the field with the defense and trouble-shoot some stuff. Obviously, some of us ran some of this stuff [offense] at Stanford [under new offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton]. But to get out there with the defense and trouble-shoot some stuff is good,” Luck said Wednesday as the team wrapped up its first week of on-field voluntary practice sessions.

“Just to be on the field with your guys going against something other than air is fun.”

Indianapolis started 10 days of OTA work on Monday. The Colts will have three practices next week and four more in two weeks to round out the sessions.

Luck is looking for improvement as the offense installed by Hamilton begins to take shape.

“I thought Monday was great and I thought Tuesday was better,” the Colts’ quarterback said. “And [Wednesday] was better than [Tuesday]. So I think that sets the floor, to try and go out and improve every day.

“Something that I’ve noticed since I’ve been here is that the guys always practice hard. Guys play hard. They go out there with a lot of energy [in the workouts]. To me it’s really a credit to the veteran leadership on this team. They keep us right and they give us the opportunity to get better.”

His goal during the OTAs is have the offense working well heading into training camp July 27.

“The main goal is to go into training camp the best that we can be. I know that’s quite vague and a little bit of a cliché. But we’re not going to take these days for granted. We realize that we only get so many of them,” he explained.

“We want to put ourselves in the position of going into training camp with a healthy winning football team.”

Quarterback coach Clyde Christensen appreciates the approach Luck is taking during his first OTA workouts.

“He just keeps progressing ahead. He just goes out and plays. He doesn’t realize how young he is. [He’s] just had a nice camp. He’s bright, he’s on it. He enjoys it. There’s a guy that loves football. We’re really pleased where he is,” Christensen said.

Luck likes Heyward-Bey — The Colts’ quarterback has been impressed with the addition of former Oakland wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey, who joined the team through free agency.

“Darrius had been great. He’s been a great addition. He has great speed, obviously, and he’s got a real knack for football,” he said. “He’s played a lot of football and he understands situations. He’s a good force in the wide receiver rotation. He’s done a phenomenal job so far.”

Walker talks running backs — Running backs coach David Walker thinks that the Colts have a good 1-2 punch in the offensive backfield with second-year RB Vick Ballard and fifth-year RB Donald Brown. The third spot is up in the air with RB Delone Carter and rookie RB Kerwynn Williams expected to battle for the job.

Carter has played well when given the opportunity but has been bothered by injuries during his three previous seasons in the league. He is sitting out OTA work as he continues to rehab from shoulder surgery. Williams is expected to be the Colts’ primary kickoff returner.

Injury update — LB Pat Angerer, NT Brandon McKinney, S Joe Lefeged, rookie S John Boyett and Carter have missed practice time during the OTAs as they recover from injuries.

Angerer said Wednesday that his foot, which he injured in the Colts’ preseason opener with St. Louis last summer, feels much better than it did at any time during the 2012 season. He underwent surgery during training camp and missed five games.

While he returned for the final 11 games last year, Angerer was not anywhere close to 100 percent of his ability. He had a second surgery after the season and is due for an MRI checkup sometime in the next few weeks.

Sitting out — Among the players sitting out OTA workouts were WR Reggie Wayne, S LaRon Landry, OLB Robert Mathis, OG Donald Thomas and S Larry Asante all did not practice Wednesday.

Wayne, Landry, Thomas and Mathis were not at the voluntary session. Wayne and Landry have been workout out on their own and all are expected at next month’s mandatory practices.