Somewhere, Andrew Luck is smiling.
No sooner had the Indianapolis Colts quarterback lost one trusted offensive coordinator than he was reunited with another Friday.
Pep Hamilton, who worked with Luck during Luck’s final two seasons at Stanford, is the successor to Bruce Arians, who left the Colts after one season to become the Arizona Cardinals head coach.
Stanford coach David Shaw insisted the Cardinal’s loss of their offensive coordinator is the Colts’ gain.
“We knew this day was coming at some point for Pep,” he said in a phone interview Friday night with The Star. “I’m excited No. 1 for him and his family to be in such a great situation. I’m also excited for the Colts family.
“You’re getting a guy first and foremost who knows how to train quarterbacks. You’re getting a guy who knows how to attack defenses and you’re getting a guy who is passionate about the game of football.”
Shaw added he had talked briefly with Luck about being reunited with Hamilton.
“He (Luck) is excited,” Shaw said. “He and Pep have a good relationship. They know each other so well that there’s not going to be that feeling-out period.
“They’re both going to want to hit the ground running when the offseason begins and just get back after it.”
Colts general manager Ryan Grigson said earlier in the week he and coach Chuck Pagano were prepared to turn to Plan B if Arians took a head coaching position.
They moved swiftly, and with good reason. Hamilton was interviewing for the head coaching vacancy at Oregon when they settled on him.
While the addition of Hamilton should facilitate Luck’s transition to a new coordinator, it’s uncertain how much offensive change Hamilton will bring with him from Stanford.
The Cardinal utilized a West Coast offense — a shorter passing game based on timing between the quarterback and receivers — that incorporated a power-running game and deep passes off play-action. Arians emphasized the ground attack in 2012, but was an aggressive play-caller who constantly pushed the ball down the field.
Luck set NFL rookie records with 4,374 yards and 627 pass attempts, and his 12.9 yards-per-completion was near the top of the league. What suffered, though, was Luck’s completion percentage: 54.1, which ranked No. 33 in the league. He was sacked 41 times and had 18 interceptions.
As a senior under Hamilton’s guidance at Stanford, Luck completed 71.3 percent of his passes and averaged 12.2 per completion. He had 37 touchdowns and 10 interceptions, and the offense set school records with 561 points and 6,361 total yards.
Stanford supported Luck with a relentless running game. In 2011, the Cardinal ran 518 times, averaging 210.6 yards per game, while passing on 417 occasions.
In the pass-first NFL, the Colts passed early and often in Luck’s rookie season. His 627 attempts were the 14th-most in league history and second-most in club history; Peyton Manning set the record (679) in 2010.
Stanford, insisted Shaw, “wasn’t just three yards and a cloud of dust. Pep’s experience is very diverse as far as handling offenses. He’s done a very good job of taking things from every place he’s been.
“I know he’s excited to work with Andrew again. Hopefully they have Reggie Wayne back for another year. I know they have some young, explosive receivers, some young, explosive tight ends. I saw where the running game started to pick up late in the year.”
Luck isn’t the only Colts player with knowledge of Hamilton. Tight end Coby Fleener and wide receiver Griff Whalen also are Stanford products.