Castille dismissed from team
Quentin Castille has been dismissed from the Husker football team for violating rules that head coach Bo Pelini said Saturday were “black and white.”
The dismissal of one of Nebraska’s top I-backs comes just two weeks before the team’s season opener against Florida Atlantic.
“We have guidelines, we have policies that we have set up here, we have a culture we have set up here,” Pelini said. “It’s pretty black and white my expectations and what we lay out as a staff. And if somebody doesn’t follow those policies or guidelines, they’re no longer going to be with the program. That’s the case with Quentin.
“I wish him luck. He’s a good kid. He’s just not going to be with our program anymore. The book is closed on that.”
Pelini addressed the matter after Saturday’s practice, delivering the news before even being asked about it. He did not get specific about what violation occurred.
The coach said the Unity Council — a group of team leaders — was not involved in the decision.
“If there’s a violation and people go against the rules and the guidelines that we’ve set up, it’s black and white,” he said. “We’ll show you the door.”
Castille arrived at Memorial Stadium at about 11 a.m. on Saturday, the same time the team began practice, and drove away about 10 minutes later.
Castille could not be reached for comment.
He has no record of arrest in the state of Nebraska. But speculation about his status had been brewing as he sat out the last three days of practices despite not having an apparent injury.
Certainly his loss is a blow to Nebraska’s offense. Along with the projected starter, Roy Helu, Castille figured to give Nebraska one of the best 1-2 punches at I-back in the conference. The junior totaled 576 yards last year and was coming off a career performance in the Gator Bowl, in which he rushed for 125 yards.
Castille did raise some eyebrows when he left Lincoln in the summer during some team workouts to see his family. His departure followed an incident in June when he failed to show up in court to face charges for a traffic stop. An arrest warrant was issued but just as quickly recalled, and it wasn’t an issue that lingered.
“I left for a little bit just to try to get some things right,” the 6-foot-1, 235-pound Castille told the Journal Star a couple of weeks ago. “Coach Pelini, he allowed me to do that. I came back and my teammates took me back as a player and as a friend and as one of the team leaders.
“It hurt leaving. But when I came back, I felt like the guys were still on my side. That’s a positive to me.”
A native of La Porte, Texas, Castille said he stayed in contact with teammates while gone this summer.
“It wasn’t like I left the team or got suspended,” he said.
After his return, Castille seemed rejuvenated and was drawing praise for his play during fall camp, even causing Helu to say on Friday: “He’s a better player than me right now and has been for a while.”
But now, with Castille gone, Pelini said Saturday true freshman Rex Burkhead is emerging as the lead backup to Helu.
“It’s like every other position. It’s out there to be won right now,” Pelini said. “I’d say Rex Burkhead is clearly the No. 2 running back right now, but that can change. There’s a lot of depth and a lot of talent at the running back position. We feel good about it.”
Joining the 5-foot-11, 200-pound Burkhead in the pursuit of playing time are others who have never had a carry in a college game: Austin Jones, Lester Ward, Dontrayevous Robinson and Collins Okafor.
Sophomore Marcus Mendoza also spent Saturday working at running back after having spent the previous time in camp at wide receiver. That move was not related to the Castille news, Pelini said.
“We were moving Marcus back there anyway,” Pelini said. “It was more of his choice.”
Pelini declined to comment when asked about the team’s reaction to the Castille dismissal.
“No one is above the football team,” the coach said.