"I have no idea what just happened," Luck said to Christensen as he walked off the field. "It was like a tsunami."
Later, watching film with Arians, the quarterback realized, "God, that's easy." He just had to learn which players to move where in protection. For instance, if he had an empty backfield in shotgun and he saw a blitzer threatening the A gap (the holes on either side of the center), he could call out a code word to reposition a tight end as a sidecar in the backfield. If he saw a defensive back creeping up to blitz, he could shift every lineman one assignment in that direction.
"In the next blitz period," recalls defensive coordinator Greg Manusky, "he'd call out who we were bringing and our coverages, right at the line. You could tell he'd studied the crap out of each play. He had an answer for everything. That's something you see in a second- or third-year quarterback, maybe. Or in a Manning."
In Indy, Luck is already famous for this learning ability. After his first minicamp, Christensen sent him home with a binder of all the Colts' three- and five-step-drop passes. The next afternoon Luck called Christensen and asked, "I got it; what have you got for me now?"
"He gets the most irritated when I repeat something, like I shouldn't be wasting his time," says Christensen. "One day I noticed he was dropping his arm just before he threw. I said to him, 'Move that ball up six inches.' I haven't had to say a word about it since."
Luck has been ... well, different, for veteran coaches like Arians and Christensen to deal with. "Dorky," says Christensen, "but so, so smart." One day in practice, Luck asked Christensen, "How are you doing today?"
"Good," Christensen answered.
"Well," Luck corrected. "You're doing well, not good."
After his fifth or sixth such redressing, Christensen shouted back, "Shut up! I don't care about your grammar and your vocabulary!"
You'd think this type of thing might rub some players the wrong way. But this team is so young—when Luck peers into the huddle, he sees as many as six rookies—that his leadership has seemed natural. No one batted an eye when, in his first minicamp following the draft, Luck snapped, "Get your asses going! We gotta win this practice!"