August 7, 2008

Castille not giving up on starting RB job

Quentin Castille has every reason to feel left out in the cold.

The highly-touted running back made an immediate impact for Nebraska last season as a true freshman, playing in all 12 games and finishing with 343 yards and four touchdowns to finish as the team's second-leading rusher.

But despite his proven success and obvious display of potential in 2007, Castille has been an afterthought heading into this season. Instead, it's been senior Marlon Lucky and sophomore Roy Helu who have garnered all the preseason attention over who will be the Huskers' standout at running back.

Yes, he certainly has every right feel ignored or under appreciated, but in reality, that couldn't be further from the truth. For Castille, the only way to get his name mentioned alongside Lucky and Helu is to earn in on the field.

"I don't feel like that," Castille said of feeling left out of the discussion at running back. "The coaches have said that nobody's the starter right now. Coach (Bo Pelini) said preseason depth charts don't mean anything. I just go out there and busting my tail like every other running back and everybody else on the field."

While Castille may have been overlooked by the media and fans alike heading into fall camp, he certainly hasn't gone unnoticed by his coaches. After entering the spring weighing a bulky 245 pounds, Castille has shed his weight down to roughly 233, helping his quickness and agility in the backfield.

"He looks good," NU running backs coach Tim Beck said. "We want him to still play tailback, so with that in mind he's got to be able to do the things our offense needs him to do. He did it and I give him credit for that. He looks good. He's moving around really well and looks much quicker and allusive."

Along with slimming down, Castille said he has focused on continuing to develop himself as a power runner and hitting holes harder coming through the line of scrimmage. He also said he's working to improve his ball security.

As a unit, the Huskers lost 11 fumbles.

"Holding onto ball was a big issue," Castille said. "I'm working on it, but I'm not thinking about it either. That's just part of being a running back. You have breakdowns. I just go out there and just run."

Though Castille is listed as the Huskers' No. 3 running back entering fall camp, his place is by no means set in stone. Nebraska's coaches have continually preached how every position is open for competition, and Castille is determined to continue to work his way more and more into the rotation.

While many may have initially ruled Castille out for the Huskers' starting running back job, at least he can take some solace that his coaches certainly haven't.

"Don't ever count him out," beck said. "Everybody keeps talking about Roy and Marlon, but I wouldn't count him out either."

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