Colts will again bring new look to AU

Wed, 2013-06-26 10:32 -- univcomm
Andrew Luck at the 2012 Indianapolis Colts Training Camp at Anderson University
June 26, 2013

It's a far cry from the sweeping change of 2012, but there will be plenty of new faces in tow when the Indianapolis Colts arrive July 27 for their fourth straight summer of training camp at Anderson University.

The 90-man roster currently includes 36 players who were not part of last season's remarkable turnaround from 2-14 and the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL draft to 11-5 and an AFC wild card playoff slot.

[Photo: Colts quarterback Andrew Luck signs autographs following a practice at Anderson University's Macholtz Stadium last summer.]

And the coaching staff includes two new coordinators — Pep Hamilton on offense and Tom McMahon on special teams. All of which, the team says, is business as usual in professional football today.

"It's just the way it is," head coach Chuck Pagano said at the close of the Colts' three-day mini-camp two weeks ago. "There's going to be turnover. Some years you don't want to, you'd love continuity. But, like we said last year, when you do win and you have success and you put your ego aside, good things are going to happen. There's going to be enough credit to go around."

That credit helped former offensive coordinator Bruce Arians land a head coaching job with the Arizona Cardinals. As Indianapolis' interim head coach while Pagano received treatment for leukemia, Arians led the team to nine wins in 12 tries.

Robert MathisHamilton, fresh off a record-setting run at Stanford where his stars included quarterback Andrew Luck and tight end Coby Fleener, is expected to bring balance to the offensive attack. His system is steeped in West Coast principles and likely will allow Luck to improve his completion percentage and cut down on his turnovers.

And while the running game — which now features two-time Super Bowl champion Ahmad Bradshaw, a free-agent addition earlier this month — is expected to be a greater part of the game plan, Hamilton promises not to stray too far away from the big-play capabilities that helped Luck set a rookie record with 4,374 passing yards last year.

[Photo: Colts outside linebacker Robert Mathis stretches out before an afternoon practice last summer.]

"Guys seem to be getting it, digesting it a little bit and going out there on the field and putting it to work," veteran wide receiver Reggie Wayne said during organized team activities earlier this month. "So, hopefully, we can go out there and make (Hamilton) look good. So far we are 1-0 on getting OCs a head coaching job. So maybe he's up next."

The Colts could feature as many as nine new starters this season, and six of those likely would come on defense. The defensive line has been upgraded with free agents Ricky Jean Francois and Aubrayo Franklin, either free agent Erik Walden or first-round rookie Bjoern Werner will start opposite Robert Mathis at outside linebacker and Kelvin Sheppard — acquired in a trade from Buffalo for linebacker Jerry Hughes — could push for a spot at inside linebacker.

But the biggest impact likely will be in the secondary, where cornerback Greg Toler and strong safety LaRon Landry likely will start after signing rich free-agent deals.

Fans can watch everything come together during 15 open practices at AU. Highlights include a night session on Tuesday, Aug. 6, and two Sunday matinees — including the first public practice of camp on July 28.

Reggie WayneThe Colts will play a preseason game at Lucas Oil Stadium against Buffalo on Aug. 11, and training camp breaks after an early afternoon session on Aug. 16.

As he said farewell to the media at the close of mini-camp, Luck was happy with the work Indianapolis already had done. And he was already itching to continue the work in Anderson.

[Photo: Colts wide receiver Reggie Wayne had fun with the fans when he got close to them during a training camp last summer at Anderson University.]

"We're nowhere near perfect," he said. "I would hope we're not near perfect at this point. I think it was great to have the whole team together, to start to see some of the pieces come into place and to see guys compete. I'm happy to get this part done and have the break and really looking forward to training camp now."

—George Bremer is a reporter for The Herald Bulletin. Reposted with permission. Photos: The Herald Bulletin. Visit Anderson University's Colts Training Camp website for more information.

Anderson University is a private Christian university of about 2,600 undergraduate and graduate students in central Indiana. Anderson University continues to be recognized as one of America's top colleges by U.S. News and World Report, The Princeton Review, and Forbes. Established in 1917 by the Church of God, Anderson University offers more than 65 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, music, nursing, and theology.