With the news of running back Donald Brown being sidelined for two-to-three weeks due to a knee injury, the youthful Colts offense just got younger.
Rookie running back Vick Ballard will start for Brown and that brings the total to four rookie starters on the Colts offense. That number doesn’t even include wide receiver T.Y. Hilton who sees ample playing time in the No. 3 receiver role.
“Pretty soon we’re not going to be young anymore,” interim head coach/offensive coordinator Bruce Arians said. “T.Y. got 73 snaps in (the Packers) ball game. I don’t consider Andrew (Luck) young anymore. So when you play these guys long enough, going into this week the youth part of it can’t be used as an excuse anymore.”
Luck did not have the full set of OTAs that almost all of the other Colts rookies had but he hasn’t let that slow down his development.
Even though Arians doesn’t consider Luck ‘young’ anymore, it won’t be until the calendar turns to 2013 that the quarterback won’t classify himself as a first-year player.
“’I’m sure I’ll feel like a rookie until I’m a second-year vet,” Luck said. “We do have great veteran leadership, starting with Reggie (Wayne), Samson Satele, a lot of guys. We might be rookies but we try not to act like them all the time. It’s part of growing up, learning, getting experience. Having four games now under the belt is huge.”
On Sunday, Luck will have Ballard behind him to begin the opening series for the first time this season.
Ballard was a fifth round pick for the Colts in April’s NFL Draft after having back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons at Mississippi State.
In four games, Ballard is second on the team with 21 carries, a number that will only increase over the next few weeks.
“As a rookie, on the sideline, you always want to get into the game, especially coming from college where you were maybe the go-to guy,” Ballard said.
“You get to the NFL, you might be on the sideline. I think I’ve approached it pretty well. I haven’t been too anxious to get on the field because I know I still have a lot to learn.”
Tight end Dwayne Allen has seen his role in the passing game increase in the past few weeks with nine catches for 73 yards and a touchdown.
Now a month into his first NFL season, Allen admits he has started to make the adjustment to the speed of the game at the professional level.
“The game is a lot slower and that’s due to practice, the preseason games,” Allen said. “I worked really hard during the preseason to get into some type of routine so whenever it came to the regular season, I would just be able to fall into it and play, and be as comfortable as possible.”
Tags: Andrew Luck, bruce arians, dwayne allen, T.Y. Hilton, vick ballard
Posted in Colts Blog