"I definitely will try to have more of a voice in the game plan," Luck said. "In my fourth year of college football, I definitely feel like I know more in terms of the game plan. So I definitely will try to speak up and talk a little more to coach Shaw maybe during game weeks, what I like, what I don't like."
With all the changes on The Farm, Luck remains the one constant.
In a week when all the departed college prospects are in Indianapolis for the NFL Combine, Luck is toiling around Silicon Valley without so much as an autograph seeker. Sure, there are occasions when he's approached — "Only nice things," he says — by a student or Cardinal fan, but it takes more than a rocket arm to impress those at the historically academics-first university.
"You can live in relative anonymity on campus," Luck said. "Stanford's a special place. People are doing great things in so many great fields that no one really cares about the football-player jock. So it's nice."
Luck insists the main reason he returned was to finish his degree in architectural design, which he's scheduled to complete next spring. He also feels unsettled with a loss at Oregon last season that cost the Cardinal the conference title — and eventually a spot in the BCS national championship game — and believes Stanford could win the inaugural Pac-12 title next season.
Of course, things don't always work out as planned.
Tim Tebow couldn't help Florida repeat as national champs when he returned for the 2009 season. Sam Bradford had season-ending shoulder surgery at Oklahoma that same year when he came back, and Manning lost to the Gators again in his final season at Tennessee, derailing his hopes of winning a national title.
None of which seems to concern Luck.
"I don't think it honestly has affected me at all in any mental capacity," Luck said. "I try not to think about it, mentally, or getting injured or anything. I try to enjoy college and enjoy college football."
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