Andrew Luck taking control of Stanford offense 

click to enlarge Field general: With Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck calling plays himself, the Cardinal offense is able to adjust to the defense on the fly. (Getty Images file photo) - FIELD GENERAL: WITH STANFORD QUARTERBACK ANDREW LUCK CALLING PLAYS HIMSELF, THE CARDINAL OFFENSE IS ABLE TO ADJUST TO THE DEFENSE ON THE FLY. (GETTY IMAGES FILE PHOTO)
  • Field general: With Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck calling plays himself, the Cardinal offense is able to adjust to the defense on the fly. (Getty Images file photo)
  • Field general: With Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck calling plays himself, the Cardinal offense is able to adjust to the defense on the fly. (Getty Images file photo)

No. 7 Stanford (4-0, 2-0 Pac-12 North) has not had a problem scoring points this season, and part of that has been Andrew Luck’s developing play-calling ability.

“We have one of the few quarterbacks that can do it,” Stanford coach David Shaw said of Luck. “I think he really likes it; He wants that opportunity to come again.”

Luck began calling his own plays periodically during last week’s 45-19 win against UCLA, and Shaw said that was always part of the plan.

“It’s a difference of knowing what’s going on and understanding what’s going on,” Shaw said. “It really helps him.”
“The best thing about it we can go to a quick snap count or a dummy snap and let him [examine the defense].”

Luck will likely get more opportunities to call the plays in Saturday’s Pac-12 matchup against Colorado.

Colorado coach Jon Embree went as far as to compare Luck’s feel for the game and ability to minimize mistakes to Peyton Manning.

“He does a very good job of play calling within the offense,” Embree said. “That shows a lot of maturity.”

Colorado (1-4, 0-1 Pac-12 South) has given up 30 or more points in four of its five games. The Buffaloes lost each of those games.

Two of the losses have come by fewer than five points, including watching a lead against Washington State slip away, falling 31-27.

“We had the opportunity to win the game and we didn’t,” Embree said. “We got to start finishing these games.”
The Buffaloes held a team meeting about the close loses with Embree emphasizing his team just keeps working.

“We’re going to keep fighting,” Embree said.

Stanford is looking to extend the nation’s longest winning streak to 13 games.

The use of the tight ends has made it difficult for teams to defend Stanford in that time.

“Since we’ve been here, we’ve tried to create a balanced attack,” Shaw said.

Shaw said the athletic tight ends on his team have created mismatches.

Tight ends Zach Ertz and Coby Fleener have caught eight of Luck’s 11 touchdowns while totaling 489 yards.

The position has accounted for nine of the 12 Stanford touchdowns.

Another win would tie the school record for consecutive wins. Making it the third time that a Stanford football team has won 13 straight games. The last time stretched from the 1939 season to the 1941 season.

Stanford and Colorado have not met since 1993.

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Zack Farmer

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