INDIANAPOLIS – Pep Hamilton is returning to the NFL after a very successful three-year career at Stanford that found part of his official title including the verbiage, "Andrew Luck Director of Offense."
The title was an endowment from an alumnus after Luck's marvelous Cardinal career, and now that Hamilton etched a solid career there, he will implement an offense in Indianapolis that includes his former quarterback.
"He (Luck) will be a tremendous asset helping me to make the transition to the Colts," said Hamilton. "As I install my offense, obviously, he's had a couple of years of experience. It makes a huge difference when the quarterback is, for the most part, well-versed in the offense."
This past year, Stanford was 12-2, winning the Rose Bowl for the first time since 1972. The Cardinal made a third consecutive BCS Bowl appearance, and it did so after the departure of Luck and others such as linemen Jonathan Martin and David DeCastro and tight end Coby Fleener.
Stanford has used the West Coast offense in building a 34-5 record over the past three years, and Hamilton was the coordinator for the two past seasons. He envisions installing the same type of attack with Indianapolis.
"It'll be a variation of the West Coast," said Hamilton. "(It will have) the West Coast principles, the short, efficient passing game, a high completion rate."
Stanford was more than just a passing offense. In averaging 43.15 points a game in Luck's final season, the Cardinal rushed for 210.6 yards per game.
This past year, the team held a 174.3 average, with senior back Stepfan Taylor rushing for 1,442 yards prior to the Rose Bowl.
Taylor set the school mark with 4,212 career rushing yards, posting 39 rushing touchdowns and a school-record 21 100-yard games.
"I enjoy watching our guys come off the ball, the guys up front trying to knock the opponent back. I'm a big believer of a power running game, running gap schemes," said Hamilton. "I think that ultimately opens up your passing game. From play-action passes, you get opportunities to face one-high coverages, get free access outside on the perimeters.
"I want to be flexible schematically, just make sure we find ways to get the ball into our dynamic play-makers' hands."
Under Hamilton's guidance at Stanford in 2011, Luck completed 71.3 percent of his passes and averaged 12.2 yards per completion. He had 37 touchdowns and 10 interceptions, and the offense set school records with 561 points and 6,361 total yards.
Luck (339-of-627 for 4,374 yards and 23 TDs) set NFL rookie records in attempts, yards and 300-yard games (six). Luck ranked fifth in NFL attempts, 10th in completions, seventh in yards and 17th in yards per attempt (6.98). His 12.9 yards-per-completion was near the top of the league.
"Pep Hamilton is a sharp, detailed and innovative coach who is a rising star in this business," said Colts General Manager Ryan Grigson. "Everything I have gathered about him besides his impressive football background is that he expects greatness from himself and those around him. His great success at Stanford and his familiarity with Andrew and Coby is obviously a major plus for us moving forward. That combined with his prior NFL experience makes this a very strong and positive acquisition for the Horseshoe. We couldn't be happier to have Pep part of the Colts family."
Hamilton entered the NFL with Kansas City in 2000, the first of three internships he served in personnel roles (Washington, 2001; Baltimore, 2002). He worked in coaching capacities with the New York Jets from 2003-05, then joined San Francisco as an offensive assistant/quarterbacks coach in 2006. He was the quarterbacks coach with Chicago from 2007-09 before joining Stanford. Hamilton was a quarterback at Howard University, where he also coached from 1997-2001.
He joined Stanford as receivers coach in 2010 under Jim Harbaugh. When David Shaw succeeded Harbaugh, Hamilton moved to offensive coordinator in 2011.
"I am happy to see Pep Hamilton get that job. He's the shining star in my book. Congratulations to Pep," said Harbaugh.