INDIANAPOLIS – Stanford suffered some key losses after the 2011 season, a year it made a second straight BCS appearance.
Gone, among others, were quarterback Andrew Luck and tight end Coby Fleener. The pair of Cardinal players was tabbed by Indianapolis with its first two picks in the draft.
The response? Stanford went 12-2 and made a third straight BCS bowl game, joining Oregon and Wisconsin as the only schools to do so.
Offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton saw the school produce its third straight 11-win season in 2012. Stanford beat four ranked teams to end the year (#13, Oregon State, #1 Oregon, #15 UCLA and then the Bruins again, ranked #17, the following week to reach the Rose Bowl).
Stanford won the school's first Rose Bowl since 1972, 20-14 over Wisconsin.
The school did so by running the West Coast offense, and Hamilton sees more of the same now that he is reunited with two former pupils in Indianapolis.
"It's probably a little premature for me to say the verbiage, the nomenclature how much that's going to change," said Hamilton of how his tweaking of the Colts' offense will be. "I have to take a look at what they were able to do this past season. They were very successful as an offensive unit and a football team overall.
"It'll be a variation of the West Coast. (It will have) the West Coast principles, the short, efficient passing game, a high completion rate."
Luck (339-of-627 for 4,374 yards and 23 TDs) set NFL rookie records in attempts, yards and 300-yard games (six).
He helped lead seven fourth-quarter or overtime game-winning drives, tying the mark for the most by any quarterback since 1970 and done only six other times.
Luck worked in an attack that took its shots downfield. The Colts had a 12.9 completion average, third-best in the league and exceeded only by Carolina (13.8) and Tampa Bay (13.3). Only five other teams topped a 12.0 average.
According to Advanced NFL Stats, Luck was third in the league in percentage of deep attempts at 27 percent (passes where the targeted receiver is greater than 15 yards downfield), ranking behind Jay Cutler (28.6) and Colin Kaepernick (27.5).
"We're going to play a physical brand of football," said Hamilton. "We're going to be efficient. We're not going to waste plays, but we're still going to take our calculated shots. It's our goal to score a lot of points in every game we play.
"It will be a good mixed bag of a lot of different things that I think Andrew (Luck) and rest of the guys will be able to do well.
"I am thrilled to have Pep as our new offensive coordinator," said Colts Head Coach Chuck Pagano. "He's had success everywhere he's been and his familiarity with guys like Andrew and Coby will make him a great fit for our team. I can't wait to start working with him as we get ready for next year."
Luck took every offensive snap in his rookie year, and his 11 starting wins tied the second-most ever accomplished by a rookie, the most ever by a top overall pick.
"I'm thrilled to be able to reunite with Coach Pep here in Indianapolis," said Luck. "He was a tremendous mentor of mine at Stanford and he is going to have our offense playing at a high, energetic level."
Fleener started 10 of 12 outings and caught 26 passes for 281 yards and two touchdowns. He does not mind another Stanford addition for a second straight year.
"Andrew (Luck) and I are excited to have coach Pep here in Indianapolis," said Fleener. "To have a coach you have worked with in the past who has a familiarity of the offense will serve this team well. Coach Pep has been successful at Stanford, and I know he'll do the same here."