Andrew Luck downplays play calling

PALO ALTO, Calif. -- Despite what his coach says ... despite what opposing coaches say ... despite what seems like every national analyst is saying ... Andrew Luck doesn't think it's that big of a deal.

"I think the whole calling plays thing has been overblown a little," he said. "... It's not that special. All of our quarterbacks could do it. All of our linemen could call what I'm calling."

And yet, most agree that few, if any other college quarterbacks in the country, could do what he was doing. There aren't a lot of NFL quarterbacks who could do what he was doing.

That's why Colorado coach Jon Embree compared Luck to Peyton Manning earlier this week. The quote is a few days stale, but apt and bears repeating.

"For those of you who aren't going to get a chance to play professional football," Embree told his players, "you're going to get to play Peyton Manning."

Coaches don't make those comparisons unless you are special.

"You guys know how modest Andrew is," said tight end Coby Fleener. "He doesn't micro-manage. If he sees something that is blatant, he'll tell us. But he does a very good job of not micro-managing when he probably could. He's got the brain power to do it."

The Cardinal debuted their no-huddle offense last week against UCLA with Luck at the helm, calling the plays as he saw fit during those drives. Why pull it out against UCLA and not until a bigger game like USC or Oregon?

"It's too good," said head coach David Shaw. "It's part of what we said we wanted to do from the beginning. It's something that's been on my mind since Andrew became the starter."

Following Stanford's win over UCLA, Shaw said Luck had the entire playbook available to him. Of course, the personnel on the field certainly dictates what sorts of plays he can call.

Having tight ends who can moonlight as wide receiers and/or fullbacks helps.

"When you have those guys on the field, you can run multiple looks and pretty much get to anything in the playbook," Luck said.

Still, Luck doesn't see it as a big deal -- getting to "anything" in the playbook in the time one play ends and another begins in a no-huddle setting.

"I don't think any of the quarterbacks in our system would be swimming out there on the field trying to think of a play to match the personnel," Luck said.

Maybe in practice. But on the field, in the heat of the game, taking down-and-distance into account and processing everything that needs to be processed in a matter of seconds and then calling the play?

That's special. Even if he won't say it.