Kaepernick’s college coach says his mechanics are off

AP

Colin Kaepernick got only one offer for a football scholarship coming out of high school, and the coach who made that one offer, Nevada’s Chris Ault, deserves a lot of credit for molding Kaepernick from a lightly-regarded high school player to a second-round draft pick and Super Bowl starter.

So it’s worth asking Ault what the heck is wrong with Kaepernick now. FOX Sports asked that, and Ault said he began to notice last season that Kaepernick’s throwing motion is off.

“Nobody knows Kaep like I do, and really that started last year,” Ault said. “For some reason last year his technique throwing the ball . . . he let it go.”

Ault noted that Kaepernick’s arm strength allows him to get away with not always having flawless mechanics, but for the sake of accuracy it’s something he needs to improve.

“I saw a little of it in college,” Ault said. “He was a pitcher, as everyone knows. He threw that thing 93 or 94 miles per hour. He has a low elbow at times. It’s not a sidearm throw by any means, but his elbow and arm are at 90 degrees instead of having that thing extended all the way up. He does that because he’s so doggone strong. He’s one of the few guys that can get away throwing that way, but when you have to make the touch pass, drop it over [coverage], or if you have to anticipate where a receiver is going, that type of release oftentimes makes you very inconsistent. That’s what I’m seeing. I saw it when we were at Nevada a little bit.”

Ault isn’t coming right out and criticizing the 49ers’ coaching staff, but if Kaepernick’s throwing motion is breaking down, that’s something the coaching staff needs to identify and help Kaepernick fix. Head coach Jim Tomsula, offensive coordinator Geep Chryst and quarterbacks coach Steve Logan have to get this figured out, or else the 49ers may soon need to go shopping for a new franchise quarterback.

55 responses to “Kaepernick’s college coach says his mechanics are off

  1. In Teddy We Trust says:
    Oct 14, 2015 11:01 AM

    “For some reason last year his technique throwing the ball . . . he let it go.”
    ______

    I’m no expert on throwing a football, but aren’t you supposed to let it go?
    ____________________________________

    Pretty sure he meant he let his mechanics go, not the ball.

  2. Good article,

    There are very, very few QBs in the league that do not need a QB coach to help with, in this case, mechanics.

    I also think much of this off season work with Warner, worked on this.

    If I read Ault correctly, this is a fundamental flaw that will always need adjustments.

    The bad part of this, comes when the coaching gives up and starts to exclude passing routes that would require this kind of throw. And I think we are all seeing. Putting this down to confidence is not really addressing the issue.

  3. Ault and Kaepernick were very successful combo in college, and Ault has a HOF coaching resume. I would say he probably knows a bit more about this than snarky posters. Isn’t the obvious solution for the 49ers to bring in Ault as consultant?

  4. Interesting observation that hopefully can be fixed.

    Years ago, Mark McGuire suddenly had a terrible slump and couldn’t hit the baseball worth beans. I believe it was a fan who wrote to the newspaper that McGuire’s stance at the plate had changed, which affected his swing and timing. Suddenly reporters started asking him about it. He changed his stance back and he started hitting again. Maybe Kaepernick needs to get back to basics and look at his old tapes from his rookie year.

  5. I find it a bit shocking that the QB coach has not already called the Nevada coach for some input and history. Call it laziness, ego and stupidity. He only coaches three players.

  6. It’s all “upstairs” with Kaep…his physical skills are undeniable but he has never processed the field quickly enough which odd based on his Wunderlic Score. The NY game last Sunday night was the first time I can remember since he’s been there that the 49ers made a consorted effort to get the ball out of his quickly and the results were he had an excellent game.

  7. bassplucker says:
    Oct 14, 2015 10:50 AM
    So basically he’s Jay Cutler with ink?
    ———————————————————————
    You do realize the last thing that’s wrong with Jay Cutler is his mechanics, right?

  8. 7’s brain mechanics are off.

    And the only Wunderlich the counts is the one that happens when it’s third and goal from the 11 at the end of the game.

    For those of you that think the paper and pencil test can determine how well you assess the field under pressure turn off the Madden.

  9. Head coach Jim Tomsula, offensive coordinator Geep Chryst and quarterbacks coach Steve Logan have to get this figured out, or else the 49ers may soon need to go shopping for a new franchise quarterback.

    A new franchise QB? I’m not sure I would consider Kaepernick a franchise QB given how he’s performed the last few years. He has the potential but I think that ship has already sailed. I always considered a franchise QB was one who could help a team win instead of contributing to their losses. Not picking on Kaepernick. I actually like the guy. He was exciting to watch his first year but he has definitely regressed. He has the talent but like RGIII he should spend more time perfecting his craft and less time caring about social media.

  10. I think this is just as much on Kapernick as the coaches.

    He watches tape and he should know his mechanics better than anyone. You really think the coaches are ignoring this?

    This reeks of Kapernick just going through the motions of being an NFL quarterback and taking the easiest/laziest path.

    He’s responsible for his mechanics. He needs to put the extra work in. He needs to know when his mechanics are slipping way before the coaches do.

    That’s what professional quarterbacks do. They know this stuff about themselves better than any coach in the world.

  11. I’d say he was threading the needle pretty darn good the other night. Had a nice game and a clutch come from behind “winning” drive. Should have won, but the defense couldn’t hold the lead.

  12. Well it’s the QB coaches job so he can’t really admit that he doesn’t know how to fix Kaepernick because if he did that what’s the point of having him on the team? A QB coach would never admit that and never look for help elsewhere although he really really should.

    I don’t think it’s fixable I think that’s his natural throwing motion and it’s like asking somebody to start writing left handed when theyou have been righties their whole lives

  13. So the College coach didn’t improve kaepernick’s mechanics. he just adjusted it to fit the read option?

  14. getyourownname says:

    Ault and Kaepernick were very successful combo in college, and Ault has a HOF coaching resume. I would say he probably knows a bit more about this than snarky posters. Isn’t the obvious solution for the 49ers to bring in Ault as consultant?

    – – – – – – –

    Maybe we can hire him as HC when Tomsula gets fired this December. At least he has experience.

  15. Kind of amazing that in an NFL environment with the best coaching available, unlimited access to any training resource imaginable, etc. that this could happen. Even if Kaep didn’t see any issues (which the player won’t always) you’d think the 49ers would quickly identify it and take steps to fix it.

  16. purplelegend84 says:
    Oct 14, 2015 11:11 AM

    In Teddy We Trust says:
    Oct 14, 2015 11:01 AM

    “For some reason last year his technique throwing the ball . . . he let it go.”
    ______

    I’m no expert on throwing a football, but aren’t you supposed to let it go?
    ____________________________________

    Pretty sure he meant he let his mechanics go, not the ball.
    _________

    You people have great senses of humor.

  17. Lets think about this. They jettison a head coach that had done wonders for him. And as he led the parade out of there everyone he had come to rely on as a QB was gone. Now it’s all on him which he had never had to deal with before. He is trying to carry the team and that only a few QB’s can do…. the Rodgers, Favre’s and Brady’s of the world. And those guys existed in a stable scheme for many years. Asking Kapernick to do this is just unfair. I know the world isn’t fair but we need to keep this in context of the full picture of what is going on.

  18. Kelly’s Chronicles,
    If you read what Ault said, the problem started last year. While Harbaugh was coach.

  19. Hey Tomsula. The Whole Foods Meat Department called wanting to know where you’ve been and if you’re ever coming back to the counter soon? Aunt Mary needs her leg of lamb

  20. skins99 ..no he doesn’t. I have seen him throw good touch passes many times. Its only when he gets pressured that he tends to throw darts.

  21. Kaepernick has never shown consistency with touch passes, pressured or not. And that cost the Niners big time at the end of the SuperBowl and at the end of the NFC Championship game vs Seattle.

  22. I find it a bit shocking that the QB coach has not already called the Nevada coach for some input and history. Call it laziness, ego and stupidity. He only coaches three players.
    ———————————————————

    First, Ault is a read option coach/consultant. Just because he was the head coach at Nevada when Kaep was there doesn’t make him a QB guru. He is NOT. And secondly, the year after Kaep was drafted, he was at a coaches clinic speaking about the read option and the success at Nevada and said this year they even have a QB who can throw. Kaep has always had bad mechanics. Ault never believed in his ability to throw and is now looking for a consultant gig.

  23. Oh please. Cosell was on KNBR a day or two ago. He pointed out that the 49ers LITERALLY cut his reads to ZERO on most his pass plays so he wouldn’t be over-whelmed. And the results speak for themselves.

    According to Pro Football Focus, when Kaepernick’s dropbacks in the pocket were 2.5 seconds or less, he completed 21 of 24 passes and was not sacked. His rating was 138.9, fourth best in the league.

    When he dropped back and released the ball in 2.6 seconds or more, he completed just 2 of 11 passes and was sacked twice. His rating was 39.6, fifth worst in the league.

    In short, he’s ****ing completely awful if he has to read defenses and make good decisions on the field. And that’s just pathetic.

  24. mogogo1 says:
    Oct 14, 2015 12:01 PM
    Kind of amazing that in an NFL environment with the best coaching available, unlimited access to any training resource imaginable, etc. that this could happen. Even if Kaep didn’t see any issues (which the player won’t always) you’d think the 49ers would quickly identify it and take steps to fix it.

    Kaepernick has ALWAYS had these issues. No touch. Can’t read defenses. His HS coaches couldn’t/didn’t do it. His college coach couldn’t/didn’t do it. Four years under “QB Guru Harbaugh” couldn’t/didn’t do it.

    That’ 12 years of coaching and he can’t do it. Time to face facts, he may be a great athlete and, at times hide his flaws with big plays, but he’s inept as a QB.

  25. ustafacts2014 says:
    Oct 14, 2015 11:33 AM
    It’s all “upstairs” with Kaep…his physical skills are undeniable but he has never processed the field quickly enough which odd based on his Wunderlic Score. The NY game last Sunday night was the first time I can remember since he’s been there that the 49ers made a consorted effort to get the ball out of his quickly and the results were he had an excellent game.

    Wonderlic is a joke for this evaluation. What makes QB’s is related to the ability to process vectors & patterns at a high rate. Wonderlic asks you weird questions that how many cans of can get if they cost 17 cents each and you $2.38. You cannot measure this ability with those kind of questions.

    That’s why you have guys with great Wonderlics fail at QB while others, with lower Wonderlics succeeding.

    The reason, btw, he got the ball out quickly is because the passing game went to a 0-read, quick-hitting game. In the 11 passses where he had to read the defense, he was SLOW and 2 of 11 with a terrible, terrible QB rating.

    In short, he’s hopeless in the pocket. He will never be even an average QB. All he can do is mindlessly follow a quick-hitting passing script.

  26. The pass in question in the SB was not bad. If not for Sherman that pass would have been caught. But I am not a person who dwells on the past. He has shown the ability to put touch on his passes when he has time. That is not to say he is just what the team needs but I don’t know anyone else who can step in right now and do a better job. Maybe the team can draft a better QB next year or trade; I really don’t know. But then they have to start all over with a rookie QB and that isn’t going to work well unless the team improves as a whole. At least Kap ran often run his way out of trouble if he has to.

  27. To tell you the truth, I would like to view those passes again. I have not seen them since the game. Its just as much the fault of the OC as it is Kap’s fault. If the receiver had been Larry Fitzgerald he would have caught it.; but then again, Fitz catches everything.

  28. cri33,
    I agree that those were poor choices on the play calling, but the point is that K had three chances in a row at the same touch pass and couldn’t get it done. And the pass that Sherman tipped
    1) Shouldn’t have been thrown
    2) If you are going to attempt it, you need to place it “just right” – another example of no touch (and lack of situational awareness) in a crucial situation.

  29. Its something he has to work on. He shows the ability but has to show it when its really needed. I don’t see them changing QB’s this season so all he can do is to do the best he can and the receivers have to make an all out effort to catch a ball that is not perfectly thrown. The best receivers can go up and catch the ball that is too high. What he lacks in the passing dept he tends to make up with his legs.

  30. moseszd says:
    Oct 14, 2015 1:29 PM

    Oh please. Cosell was on KNBR a day or two ago. He pointed out that the 49ers LITERALLY cut his reads to ZERO on most his pass plays so he wouldn’t be over-whelmed. And the results speak for themselves.

    According to Pro Football Focus, when Kaepernick’s dropbacks in the pocket were 2.5 seconds or less, he completed 21 of 24 passes and was not sacked. His rating was 138.9, fourth best in the league.

    When he dropped back and released the ball in 2.6 seconds or more, he completed just 2 of 11 passes and was sacked twice. His rating was 39.6, fifth worst in the league.

    In short, he’s ****ing completely awful if he has to read defenses and make good decisions on the field. And that’s just pathetic.
    ——————————————————-

    Your comments are partially correct in the sense they apply to those TWO specific games…if you’d like to peruse back 3 weeks vs the Steelers he also a QBR of over 106 with a completion % of 71% and 335 yds all of it on dropbacks, not quick dump offs. So your logic is nice for two specific games but not entirely true regarding the entire body of work. What has only been mentioned briefly by his former Nevada coach is since he’s come into the league he has gotten away with quite a few throws b/c of the velocity he can put on his throws – that in of itself has become a major factor as his confidence had been shaken. I think the NY game may spring him into playing like his former self (which was never one to process the field) but rather “let it go” as soon as he sees the receiver he wants…let’s face it, he’s never going to be the qb who processes the defensive layout.

  31. So he needs to get rid of the ball within 2.5 seconds. Forget about reading the defense…just get the ball to an open receiver and if nobody is open, throw the ball away. I often wonder how many QB’s do just that..just get the ball to the open guy and let the coaches worry about the rest.

  32. It’s all “upstairs” with Kaep…his physical skills are undeniable but he has never processed the field quickly enough which odd based on his Wunderlic Score. The NY game last Sunday night was the first time I can remember since he’s been there that the 49ers made a consorted effort to get the ball out of his quickly and the results were he had an excellent game.

    Odd, given the Wonderlic? I had a 1580 SAT and 1500 GRE and somehow, I don’t think that would help me very much as a QB. Book smarts have nothing to do with the geometric and spatial knowledge of recognizing how defenders are lined up. Two totally different things. Besides that, there is no position at which a higher Wonderlic score has a statistically significant positive correlation with performance (although there are slight negative correlations at a couple). Exhibit A: Ryan Fitzpatrick and his massive INT rate, even though I’m pretty sure all Harvard grads know you throw to your own teammates.

  33. I’m pretty sure the style of throwing has been successful in the NFL, start with Bernie Kosar and how about Phillip Rivers…yet Kap is getting another excuse. The guy is just not an NFL caliber QB, not acurate enough, doesn’t have a quick enough release, not quick footed, has no pocket presence and would rather try and make himself look good that making other’s better around him.

    Give it up already, the 49ers need the 1st overall pick to attract a real GM, real HC (which they fired) and hopefully the franchise QB is in this draft (Goff, Connor)? Who knows but they need to start shaking the branches a bit before their downward spiral can end. I would like to see another playoff team, at least, before I go.

  34. Kelly’s Chronicles says:
    Oct 14, 2015 12:20 PM

    Lets think about this. They jettison a head coach that had done wonders for him. And as he led the parade out of there everyone he had come to rely on as a QB was gone. Now it’s all on him which he had never had to deal with before. He is trying to carry the team and that only a few QB’s can do…. the Rodgers, Favre’s and Brady’s of the world. And those guys existed in a stable scheme for many years. Asking Kapernick to do this is just unfair. I know the world isn’t fair but we need to keep this in context of the full picture of what is going on.

    I agree that running Harbaugh out of town was perhaps the dumbest thing they have done so far. However, Kaepernick was struggling last year while Harbaugh was there so that’s not the real issue. Teams know how to defend him now and he has yet been able to overcome that. He has shown flashes of his ability but until he can do that consistently he’s going to continue to struggle.

  35. Can you imagine how hard Greg Roman and Jim Harbaugh had to work to make these players, especially Kaepernick, look good. We are seeing what they are worth without coaching this year, wow.

  36. Your comments are partially correct in the sense they apply to those TWO specific games…if you’d like to peruse back 3 weeks vs the Steelers he also a QBR of over 106 with a completion % of 71% and 335 yds all of it on dropbacks, not quick dump offs. So your logic is nice for two specific games but not entirely true regarding the entire body of work. What has only been mentioned briefly by his former Nevada coach is since he’s come into the league he has gotten away with quite a few throws b/c of the velocity he can put on his throws – that in of itself has become a major factor as his confidence had been shaken. I think the NY game may spring him into playing like his former self (which was never one to process the field) but rather “let it go” as soon as he sees the receiver he wants…let’s face it, he’s never going to be the qb who processes the defensive layout.
    ————————————–
    Lets look at that game, I contend it was Prevent Defense aided…it was 29-3 Pitts at half-time and 43-18 at the end.

    1st half: Kap 11/15 61yds, looks like dumpoffs. 2 completions over 10 yds in the half.

    2nd Half: Kap 22/31 274yds 2TD. This included a 43yd pass to Vernon and a 75TD to Torrey.

    Tell me again how this is not dump offs?

  37. Most QBs have at least one decent WR. Some QBs have one or two great WRs. Guys like Montana and Brady don’t need great WRs, but most QBs do. Kaepernick came very close to winning a super bowl and very close again to winning a second NFC championship. He accomplished this without one decent WR. If Kaepernick had just one decent WR, he would be a two time super bowl champ. I’d say this guy has some stuff going for him. Go ahead 49ers, and get rid of him. Someone like Belichick will grab him in a heartbeat, and hold onto him until Brady retires. Then all you guys will say “see, I always knew he was a great QB”. Yeah right.

  38. Anyone who thinks Kapernick can be made into a good quarterback, are dreaming. Basically, he was never a good thrower. His running opened up the pass for him. Now that the gimmick of the option system has been made ineffective by defensive coordinators, quarterbacks who play in those systems are struggling. So, if a player was never really good n the first placed, but a system was responsible for their successes, they will not magically be good. Kaepernick never had it and never will. Teaching Kaepeenick to be a passer is about the same as taking an offensive lineman and making a passer out of him. Why bother? Just get a passer and tell the NCAA to quit the option garbage and develop some passing quarterbacks.

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