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September 18, 2013
Mind games: Luck recalls picking Fangio's brain about defense


Cornerback Richard Sherman, who has a history with Jim Harbaugh and familiarity with the 49ers' offense, was named NFC's defensive player of the week today for his role in the Seahawks' recent blowout win over San Francisco. On Sunday, another player with long background with Harbaugh and the 49ers' system will try to do the same.

Colts quarterback Andrew Luck said he used to knock on Vic Fangio's door when Fangio was Stanford's defensive coordinator in 2010. His objective - learn as much as he could about Fangio's defense because it would help him learn more about himself.

"They whupped our butts every now and then in practice, and then (the goal) was to figure out why was the defense doing so well, what are our weaknesses, what are my weaknesses?'" Luck said on a conference call this morning. "And he was always very accommodating and very patient probably with what seemed to be a very young, sort of brat, snot-nosed quarterback coming in and trying to learn a little bit about the defense."

There are plenty of other Colts who know a thing or two about Fangio and the 49ers defense as well. Starting defensive end Ricky Jean Francois spent his first four NFL seasons in San Francisco while backup outside linebacker Cam Johnson was traded from San Francisco to Indianapolis on Sept. 2.

In addition, tight end Coby Fleener - who becomes Luck's No. 1 tight end with Dwayne Allen on injured reserve - also practiced against Fangio's defense at Stanford while Colts offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton was Stanford's wide receivers coach in 2010.

It will be Hamilton and Luck who will be charged with figuring out Fangio on Sunday.

"I wish I'd paid more attention to those (2010) conversations now, I guess," Luck said with a laugh.

"It'll be sort of fun, I guess, to see those guys," he added. "I feel very fortunate to have played under them in college and they taught me so much about football and growing up. But at the end of the day, it'll be another game."

-- Matt Barrows


Matt was born in Blacksburg, Va., and attended the University of Virginia. He graduated in 1995, went to Northwestern for a journalism degree a year later, and got his first job at a South Carolina daily in 1997. He joined The Bee as a Metro reporter in 1999 and started covering the 49ers in 2003. His favorite player of all time is Darrell Green.


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