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AP source: Colts hiring Stanford's Hamilton

AP source: Colts hiring Stanford's Hamilton

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) The Indianapolis Colts have their new offensive coordinator, and it's someone Andrew Luck already knows.

A person familiar with the decision said Stanford offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton has accepted the same position with the Indianapolis Colts, where he will be reunited with Luck.

The person spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity Friday because the deal has not yet officially been announced by the Colts. Team owner Jim Irsay tweeted that the Colts' offense ``could have some pep to it this fall.''

The Colts were hoping that a promised pay raise and a new job title would be enough to keep Bruce Arians in Indy.

But Arians, a longtime NFL assistant, had long dreamed about being an NFL head coach and couldn't say no when the Arizona Cardinals offered him the job Thursday.

Arians stepped in when Chuck Pagano was diagnosed with leukemia in September and went on to tie an NFL record for wins after a midseason coaching change. His 9-3 record not only made him a front-runner for coach of the year honors, but suddenly made him a hot commodity on the interview circuit, too.

Knowing that, Colts general manager Ryan Grigson said Tuesday that while he was hoping Arians would return for a second season as offensive coordinator, he was preparing for life without the 60-year-old Arians.

``I take it upon myself to always be prepared. Just like during the season, I always have a doomsday mindset,'' Grigson said Tuesday. ``I always have a deep reserve of players and people at the ready. That's my job. That's what I've been entrusted to do. I'm just doing my job. It's not cold or heartless, I'm just doing my job.''

Grigson played it coy earlier this week when he was asked whether Plan B would be promoting quarterbacks coach Clyde Christensen to offensive coordinator, a job he held under former coach Jim Caldwell.

But one thing the Colts wanted was continuity for Luck and his young teammates and Hamilton could help in that facet.

He'll have some familiar faces on the roster with Luck, last year's No. 1 overall pick out of Stanford, and tight end Coby Fleener.

Luck set NFL rookie records for attempts and yards passing and fell just short of the league's rookie marks for completions and touchdown passes. He tied the league's single-season record for most winning drives in the fourth quarter (seven) and produced a league-high nine wins in one-possession games.

Hamilton also has a solid supporting cast outside of the two ex-Cardinal players. Running back Vick Ballard, tight end Dwayne Allen and receivers T.Y. Hilton and LaVon Brazill combined with Fleener and others to give Indy (11-5) the highest combined total of yards rushing and receiving by rookies on one team since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger.

Hamilton joined Jim Harbaugh's staff at Stanford in 2010. He was promoted to offensive coordinator when Harbaugh left for the San Francisco 49ers two years ago and David Shaw took over as Stanford's head coach.

Last May, the university officially renamed the offensive coordinator position the ``Andrew Luck Director of Offense'' after an anonymous donor made what the school called a ``very generous'' gift to honor the record-setting quarterback.

Stanford has endowments for many positions in the athletic department, although most are reserved for head coaches and the athletic director.

Hamilton helped continue Stanford's renaissance behind a balanced offense - with and without Luck.

One of the Cardinal's key recruiters, Hamilton also discovered new quarterback Kevin Hogan out of McLean, Va. The strong-armed and quick-footed Hogan finished 5-0 - including beating four ranked teams en route to the Rose Bowl win over Wisconsin on Jan. 1 - since replacing Josh Nunes, who struggled to succeed Luck. Stanford had not won the Rose Bowl since 1972.

Stanford is one of only three schools - Oregon and Wisconsin being the others - who earned BCS bowl berths the past three seasons. The Cardinal routed Virginia Tech in the Orange Bowl two years ago and lost in overtime to Oklahoma State in the Fiesta Bowl in Luck's finale.

Stanford has won at least 11 games each of the past three years. The program had won 10 games only three times before (1992, 1940 and 1926).

Losing Arians is only part of Indy's transition.

Since losing a wild-card round game to Baltimore, the Colts have parted ways with special teams coordinator Marrwan Maalouf and watched vice president of football operations Tom Telesco leave to take the general manager job in San Diego.

Grigson replaced Telesco with Jimmy Raye, who had spent the past 16 years in San Diego's front office, and Pagano hired Tom McMahon as his new special teams coach this week.

Grigson said he expects no more major changes to the front office or coaching staff during the offseason.

``Just because we've won one season we're not going to let people just raid the hen house,'' Grigson said. ``I've been on the other side of it myself, it's tough but guys are in contracts and if you're offered a head coaching job or a GM position I have to let you out, but otherwise, I don't.''

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Online:http://pro32.ap.org/poll andhttp://twitter.com/AP-NFL

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AP Sports Writer Antonio Gonzalez contributed to this report.

4.19.18 Rick Horrow The Sports Professor talks with Joe Leccese, Chairman ProSkauer

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USA TODAY Sports

4.19.18 Rick Horrow The Sports Professor talks with Joe Leccese, Chairman ProSkauer

Rick Horrow The Sports Professor sits down for an exclusive interview with Joe Leccese -- and more from the $1 trillion-dollar business of sports in this week's 'Beyond The Scoreboard with Rick Horrow'

About the Guest: Joe Leccese is the Chairman of Proskauer. He is responsible for leading the Firm’s global operations across its 13 offices and co-heads of Proskauer’s renowned Sports Law Group.

By Rick Horrow

Podcast producer: Tanner Simkins

LISTEN HERE

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The Caps' penalty kill has been a major factor in the series turnaround

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USA TODAY Sports

The Caps' penalty kill has been a major factor in the series turnaround

For the Capitals to beat the Columbus Blue Jackets, one of the keys to the series was going to be the penalty kill. 

For the season, Columbus ranked only 25th in the league on the power play at 17.2-percent, but that number did not reflect the massive improvement the Blue Jackets made with their trade deadline acquisitions.

Since the trade deadline on Feb. 26, Columbus ranked seventh on the power play. The Caps were sixth with both teams converting 25.0-percent of the time.

Where Washington did have an edge, seemingly, was on the penalty kill. Unlike the power play, Columbus' penalty kill was consistently poor all season, finishing 27th in the NHL with a kill rate of only 76.2-percent. While not a strength by any means, the Caps were certainly better on the PK with a kill rate of 80.3-percent, good for 15th in the league.

With two power plays converting at the same rate, Washington had to be able to kill off more of the Blue Jackets' opportunities. They struggled to do that in Game 1 and Game 2.

The Caps were called for four penalties and gave up two power play goals in each of the first two games. Washington scored five power play goals in those games, but their advantage on special teams was mitigated by their inability to keep Columbus from converting. 

There are many reasons why the Caps were able to overcome the 0-2 series deficit and now sit just one win away from advancing to the second round. Chief among those reasons is the improved penalty kill. Since Game 2, Washington has not allowed a single power play goal. The PK has successfully killed off 13 straight penalties including five in Game 5.

"I think as a group, they've all stepped up," Barry Trotz said on a conference call with the media on Sunday. "I don't think I can single out anybody. They've all stepped up. The penalty kill is as good as the five guys that you have, your four and your goaltender. They've been very committed there."

In a series that has seen four out of five games go to overtime, it's not hard to recognize the impact even one goal can have on a game and, by extension, the series. Should the Caps go on to win the series, their ability to adjust their penalty kill to stop the Blue Jackets' suddenly potent power play will be one of the main reasons why.

Trotz would not go into specifics as to the adjustments the team made after Game 2, but did acknowledge the penalty kill has been a "major factor" in the Caps' turnaround this series.

But to finish the job, the penalty kill will have to continue adjusting.

"This is the time when we're still trying to tweak things," Trotz said. "They changed some things on their power play a little bit yesterday, so we'll look to maybe tweak a little bit with our PK."