Sky-High Expectations Prove Impossible for Andrew Luck to Fulfill Despite his Wildly Succesful Senior Season

December 9, 2011 – 7:45 am by Michael Bean

Do I understand why Robert Griffin III has emerged as a legitimate Heisman Trophy candidate? Yes I do. Do I understand why anybody is justifying Griggin III’s emergence by trying to downplay or even disparage what Andrew Luck has done this season? No I don’t. That’s not universally been the case. But in many instances, it’s almost as if some folks are talking themselves into Griffin III by coming up with this or that reason as to why Luck is no longer befitting of all the preordained accolades and hardware that had been expected to come his way by the end of this season.  We’ll see this weekend if Griffin III will in fact take home the Heisman Trophy as expected, but regardless of not being invited to New York City as a Heisman Trophy finalist, Luck can do nothing but hold his head up high knowing he accomplished an incredible amount as the quarterback and leader of the Cardinal program this past few years.

Luck joined KLAC in Los Angeles to talk about handling all of the pressure and awkwardness that’s gone along with seemingly being destined to head to Indianapolis where Peyton Manning is still quarterback, if all the expectations placed on him before and during this season served as a distraction at any point, what happened in Stanford’s loss to Oregon this season (their only defeat of the year), if he’d say that this season has lived up to expectations, the difference between playing for Coach Shaw and former Coach Jim Harbaugh, and how his upbringing playing soccer around his dad benefited him athletically including on the gridiron.

On dealing with all the talk of the Colts being set on drafting him despite Peyton Manning’s presence on the team and around the organization:

“Yeah, I mean, one, first of all you have to understand nothing is set in stone. These could all just be words in the wind. So I don’t pay attention to it. I am just keeping my head down and trying to enjoy this week with all the college football award shows and prepare for Oklahoma State. And I’ll start worrying about the next level I guess when that time comes.”

If all the expectations placed on him each week as the future No. 1 overall pick were a distraction at times or ever too much to handle:

“No, not it wasn’t. I think I was lucky to be surrounded by a bunch of good guys in the locker room that cut me off of my high horse or made sure my mind was in the right spot when it came to stuff like that. So it wasn’t too much of a distraction at all.”

On what happened in the five-turnover loss to Oregon earlier this season:

“Well I think one, like you said, we turned the ball over. You can’t win against a very good team like Oregon if you turn the ball over. I think we got behind a little early, and maybe started to do some uncharactersitic things. But, you know, that being said, we learned a lot from that game. We watched some film, a lot of young guys learned some valuable lessons — I know myself, I learned some valuable lessons. I’m just proud of the guys for getting back on track and finishing the season strong against some good opponents.”

If his 2011 season lived up to his own personal expectations individually and for his team:

“Obviously you want to go undefeated like everyone does. And obviously we didn’t, just talking about the Oregon loss. But it’s been a success so far — a No. 4 ranking and hopefully an opportunity to move up if we can get a win in the Fiesta Bowl against a great Oklahoma State team. So after the Bowl game I’ll have a better answer for you, but today I think it’s a great success.”

On the different between playing for Coach Shaw and Coach Jim Harbaugh:

“To be honest, the day to day stuff and the structure of everything is very similar. We’ve got the same practice times, the same competitive juices that Harbaugh brought in — Coach Shaw has really tired to foster and grow with that. But like you said, their demeanors and personalities are really the only differences. Coach Harbaugh is a really emotional guy, always excited, jumping up and down, whereas Coach Shaw may be a little more laid back and sort of weather the storm. So it’s great to play for both of them, and it’s a lot of fun.”

On how his upbringing playing soccer due to his dad’s affiliation with professional soccer benefited him over the years:

“I’m a big believer in playing as many sports as you can growing up, so I played basketball, soccer, baseball, ran track, did all that good stuff through high school. And I definitely think it helps learning how to handle your body in space, or maybe seeing bodies in different areas, and it was fun for me as well. But I think it definitely helps.”

Listen here to Luck with Petros & Money on KLAC in Los Angeles

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