Friday, May 29, 2015

Making a Bet


This picture gives you a good idea about Castner's unusual motion


Columbia football has often recruited players that most people would consider "projects." That is, players who had senior year injuries or have some kind of quirk in their resume that shooed away the big programs who had been interested or kept them away from the start.

RB Lucas Faria is one of those players, as a hamstring injury senior year dropped his recruiting stock. But based on how he played in the New Jersey state championships, I think taking a bet on Faria is a very solid choice.

Another bet for Columbia is QB Kyle Castner. In this fascinating article in USA Today, the author makes an impassioned case for Castner despite his unusual passing motion. I've looked at tapes of Castner play, and he indeed has a strange motion where he holds the football out high above his head and seems to hold it there for a split second before flinging it downfield. No one disputes that this is an odd piece of mechanics, and you can see how holding the football out there overexposed like that could make a coach very nervous.

But Castner's stats and winning record are eye-opening too. And for me, the tie-breaker is his speed. He can really run and it looks like he's not afraid to take a hit to get the crucial yards. He reminds me of Sean Brackett '13 in that way.

So again, I think this was a good bet for Columbia to take. And I also trust this new coaching staff to develop these project-like players a lot better than any staff we've had before. And as an incoming freshman, Castner has the luxury of waiting for the Lion offensive line to improve and protect that overexposed football that comes with his throwing motion.

But one word of caution: Dartmouth was very gaga over getting a QB named Cole Marcoux a few years ago when he was a high school All American. Then in training camp it was noted that he had a funky throwing motion too. He never played in more than one game as a varsity QB for the Green, but he did contribute as a TE his senior year. Of course Marcoux was coming out of Riverdale Country Day School in the Bronx, where he played against a much lower level of competition than Castner did at the highest level of Indiana HS football.

Harvard Swipe? 

Incoming Kicker Chris Alleyne may have had an earlier offer to him rescinded by Harvard, or perhaps he changed his mind and switched to Columbia.

This article from last year identifies Alleyne as a Harvard commit.





12 comments:

oldlion said...

I imagine looking at his motion that the concern is the potential ease with which a rusher can knock the ball away before he ever gets to release it. Can't see why this cannot be corrected, however, so that by the time he is a junior he would be ready to play.

alawicius said...

Too bad that terrific article about Castner was written before our coaches came back to pick him up. Would be interesting to find out how it all went down. Despite the minor glitch in his throwing motion, the kid has it all, the tangibles and intangibles to lead us to a great future. All he has to do now is beat out our other six quarterbacks who think they can do it, too!

alawicius said...

I just re-watched Castner's video and I for one can't see any problem with his throwing motion, certainly no problem in getting passes delivered to the right person at the right time. If I'm missing something, can someone else take a look and tell me what it is? I played some QB myself so I think I'd notice anything flagrant.

alswingman said...

Throwing motion aside, how well does he read defenses? If his decision-making is there, the mechanics can be worked on. The best QBs are game managers.

oldlion said...

Looks like Castner is already on campus and ready to work. Great attitude.

Chick said...

Alawicius, I just watched the video and I agree with you. Don't know what that hyperventilating reporter was talking about. Nor the coaches that he claims agree with him. What I saw was a quick release with lots of zip on it that hits receivers right on the numbers in stride. Straining my eyes to catch any anomaly, all I saw besides an accurate strong, quick release was that once in a while, not often, he elevated his hand a bit because he wanted to put a little more loft on the ball.
I have no idea how he will turn out but from this video alone I'd think he'd turn out very well.

oldlion said...

Just saw gutsiest Columbia win ever. Two frost and one soph two hit Miami. With no Gus Craig

alawicius said...

Agreed, Chick, thanks for the corroboration. Could be a real traffic jam at QB but confident the coaches will figure it out.

alawicius said...

We are witnessing the genesis of the new golden era of Lion sports. Basketball and football will have an opportunity to emulate baseball. Within 2-3 years we could make it a trifecta.

RLB said...

NYPost on Lion baseball win:
http://nypost.com/2015/05/31/columbia-pulls-stunner-over-miami-to-stay-alive-in-ncaa-tournament/?contact-form-id=widget-text-2&contact-form-sent=9702048&_wpnonce=8e5b748b08#contact-form-widget-text-2

oldlion said...

Still can't get over those two first years holding the best hitting team in the country to two singles. This kills the myth that excellence cannot be achieved by having to take two 20 minute bus rides a day to Baker Field.

alawicius said...

Old Lion, with all due respect for your admirable loyalty, every time you mention the bus ride you remind people about it. Fuggetaboutit already! :)