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Paly’s in luck

Four-time NFL Pro-Bowler Andrew Luck helps with JV, freshman football coach
Rahul Shetty
Former Stanford and Indianapolis Colts star Andrew Luck directs players at a JV football practice. “ It’s been amazing to get NFL coaching experience because he has so much knowledge that he spreads to everyone, and practices have been a lot smoother since he’s been here,” sophomore wide receiver Dylan Robinson said.

The sharp blow of a whistle marks yet another failed repetition of the drill and sophomore wide receiver Dylan Robinson looks toward the coaches for clarification on the quality of his route.

Luckily for Robinson and the rest of his teammates, the junior varsity and freshman football assistant coach who clarifies the timing of Robinson’s route is four-time NFL Pro-Bowler and former first round draft pick Andrew Luck.

The JV football team started its season by winning its first two games, and Robinson said credit goes at least in part to Luck who is using his deep knowledge of the game to help guide the team.

“He’s had so much experience. He caught on really quick and now helps everyone perform better,” Robinson said. “It’s been amazing to get NFL coaching experience because he has so much knowledge that he spreads to everyone, and practices have been a lot smoother since he’s been here.”

Despite his distinguished career in college football and the NFL, Luck said he does what he is asked out of respect for the program.

“Coach (DeGeronimo) has a need, and I fill in where the need is,” Luck said. “So I’m the volunteer. I’m the lowest man on the totem pole. He needed help with JV and freshman, so that’s where I went.”

Despite Luck’s modesty, JV head coach Jason Fung said the insight Luck provides is unique and working with him is an impactful privilege.

“The addition of Andrew Luck gives us a quick eye, a guy that can diagnose what it is we need to change to the quarterbacks instantaneously,” Fung said. “If you made a bad throw (and ask,) ‘Why did it happen?’ (Luck provides) swift feedback.”

Being a former quarterback, Luck said he specializes in the position he’s most familiar with, and JV quarterback Justin Fung said in addition to the respect Luck commands from the team, his experience as a top player allows for in-depth, individual guidance.

“The team definitely respects him massively,” Justin said.”  “On a personal level, he tells you details about the smallest things, like when to look up or what not to do.”

Being a four-time Pro-Bowler, Luck said his coaching strategy is influenced by his time as a player.

“I certainly love sharing aspects of what I’ve learned throughout playing football, whether it’s Xs and Os strategy, technique (or) general character building stuff,” Luck said.

Luck also said he is grateful for the opportunity to be a part of a team where he can work with players who share the same passion he has.

“I’m going to pursue a life (working) with young kids … I enjoy being around guys and girls that are excited to be out on the field and learning the game that I love to play,” Luck said. “Football was where I wanted to get involved, and I’m thankful for Coach DeGeronimo to let me volunteer and hang out and help out on Mondays and Wednesdays. To me this is the way to stay involved in the sport.”

Before being picked first overall in the 2012 NFL Draft by the Indianapolis Colts, Luck spent four years playing at Stanford. After becoming a two-time first team All-American at Stanford, he chose to delay his NFL Draft date by a year to pursue his undergraduate degree in Architectural Design at Stanford. Luck said a reason for his return to Palo Alto was his interest in earning yet another degree from his Alma Mater.

“I graduated in June with a Master’s in Education, and it was a great experience,” Luck said. “I love Stanford. My wife and I met at Stanford, and we owned a house here, so it was easy. I love the university, and the herd that it attracts. I’m interested in sports, education and the intersection of both.”

Since taking a prolonged hiatus from football following his retirement, Luck has made few reappearances in the sport. However, he said ultimately his return as a coach was driven by his love for the game.

“I’m certainly very fortunate that I got to play at (a high) level and enjoy it. It was awesome,” Luck said.  “To play a game as a professional was pretty stinking sweet. I realize not everybody gets the opportunity to play for that many years, and I was exposed to a lot of different coaches. So I try to pick aspects of all the things that I was taught that resonated with me and apply it down here.”

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Rahul Shetty, Staff Writer
Alec Bonnard, Lifestyle & Science/Tech Editor and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Manager
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