Three months ago, the Indianapolis Colts entered Lucas Oil Stadium for an open practice to fans.
For a majority of the coaching staff and players, it was the first time to experience playing in the Colts stadium playing in front of a crowd (albeit a smaller one than will be there Sunday).
Following that practice, head coach Chuck Pagano addressed the importance of protecting Lucas Oil Stadium.
“We plan on making this our home turf,” Pagano said. “Nobody comes in here and dominates this team. We will play great football here and this is our house.”
The message was direct and to the point and the Colts will get the first of eight chances to carry out that message this Sunday when the Minnesota Vikings come to Indianapolis for the 2012 home opener.
The Vikings game will also be the first home opener Pagano will experience as a head coach.
Not much has changed Pagano’s opinion on a home field advantage since that message he gave on June 13th and he is ready to finally coach in that environment on Sunday.
“We’ve got bar none the greatest fans in the entire NFL and we’ll count on them being our 12th man if you will. What we got to do is we’ve got to come out and start fast,” Pagano said.
“If we come out and start like we did in our first preseason opener against St. Louis and we get the crowd into it and get the fans to it, then obviously we are going to feed off their energy.
Quarterback Andrew Luck helped lead a pair of victories this preseason at home for the Colts and even in his short time in Indianapolis he has been very impressed with the intelligence of the fans.
“Very knowledgeable fan base,” Luck said. “Even walking around it’s interesting hearing when people come up to you and say a couple of words, it’s ‘wow you know a lot about football, maybe too much about football (laughing) I can’t answer that question.’ In the preseason games, it’s been fun to see how in tune the fans are, to the offense and defense, different situations.”
Defender Cory Redding doesn’t want to hear any of the silence that Luck will hopefully experience on Sunday when his unit goes to work.
The Colts mark the fourth franchise Redding has played for in his 10-year NFL career and he summed it up pretty well when talking about the need to create a home field advantage.
“You don’t want nobody to come to your house, kick their shoes off and put their feet on your coffee table, read your newspaper, sleep in your own bed, you know what I mean?” Redding said. “You don’t want that stuff to come to your house and do these things that you normally do. That’s what (Lucas Oil Stadium) needs to be for us.”
“That’s our home turf. We have to protect home. We have to win at home. We were very successful in the preseason, and we have to carry those things over. The crowd was into it. We have to go out there and feed off that energy and make plays.”
Tags: Andrew Luck, chuck pagano, cory redding
Posted in Colts Blog