Well, add former Nevada Wolfpack coach Chris Ault to the mix of the Colin Kaepernick critiques. In an article on Fox Sports, Kap's college coach weighed in on the quarterbacks delivery issues as of late. If you have a moment, I strongly suggest giving the entire article a read as Ault goes into good detail on a couple issues he took to Kaepernick's footwork and throwing motion:
"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 often times makes you very inconsistent. That’s what I’m seeing. I saw it when we were at Nevada a little bit."
Earlier in the article, Ault mentioned he noticed this as early as last season. Naturally, Jim Tomsula was asked about this today in his press conference. The response was about as friendly as you could get without completely shooting Ault down:
"With all due respect to coach Ault, but I don't know him and we're really not paying attention to other people's evaluations. We're watching our film, we're evaluating, we're correcting, and working on things that we feel like we need to work on."
It can be argued no one knows Kaepernick better than his college coach. After all, the kid went over 4,000 yards rushing and 10,000 yards passing during his time as Nevada's signal caller. If Chris Ault is right, this raises two questions: 1: Why didn't Geep Chryst or Steve Logan notice this and tweak it immediately in the preseason, and 2: What was the point of all this work in Arizona with Dennis Gile if they can't figure out his elbow was lowered (among other things) and hence his delivery was off? Biomechanics or whatever, why wasn't this addressed? So either these issues weren't getting the attention they deserved, or they weren't as big of a deal as Ault suggests. Keep in mind, Ault says he noticed this last season, which means this would have been going on under Jim Harbaugh's watch.
While Kaepernick has made some strange throws, all the chatter could just be people stirring the pot. Kaepernick has been known to have an unorthodox delivery since coming out of college, so I'm not sure exactly what he's supposed to look like, and there may only be so much to tweak in one off-season. As Matt Barrows pointed out, it reflects somewhat what Jim Harbaugh said back in 2011.
Kaepernick was also asked about Ault's comments talked about using different arm angles depending on the type of throw in question. He more or less shrugged it off to a certain extent, saying, "Ultimately, whether the receiver catches the ball and the ball is in the right position is the only thing that matters."
What do you think? Is Ault correct in his assessment or just causing a stir? Have you noticed some of the things mentioned on a consistent basis?
Here are the full questions and answers from Tomsula and Kap:
Colin Kaepernick's college coach, Chris Ault, says that Kaepernick at times has been dropping his elbow when he throws since about the end of last season. Is that something your coaching staff has spotted and is that something you are working to correct or is it not an issue?
"I won't get into anything that the coaches are coaching up and things like that. And I really, with all due respect to coach Ault, I don't know him but we're not really paying attention to other people's evaluations. We're watching our film and we're evaluating and we're correcting and working on things that we feel like we need to work on."
Your college coach, former Nevada head coach Chris Ault recently said in a radio interview that you've been dropping your elbow when you throw since late last season. Is that something you are aware of when you watch yourself play? Is that something that you work on?
"It is something that I constantly work on, my mechanics, fundamentals, to make sure I'm out there throwing the ball the best way I can. Ultimately, whether the receiver catches the ball and the ball's in the right position is the only thing that matters."
Were there things last week, during the week of preparation that you did with your pass catchers to help improve that chemistry that you continue to reference?
"Yeah. We had more meeting time together. We went in detail over things to make sure everybody was on the same page, what we were looking to get out of each play and what we were trying to take advantage of."
Offensive coordinator Geep Chryst said last week there were changes made. Could you divulge what those changes were and is that you think what he was talking about?
"Yeah. That's exactly what he was talking about."
At the beginning of the season, there was such an emphasis on the tempo, quick tempo. We saw that in the Minnesota game but just falling behind it, it would seem that that was affected. Do you feel that tempo coming back with just kind of the steps the offense took against the Giants?
"I think we've always had good tempo in and out of the huddle. That's something we want to continue."
Just getting back to a mechanics question, when you're in a pocket that's constantly changing shape and you're avoiding guys, can you have a uniform throwing motion or do you have to sometimes drop your elbow and throw side arm and things like that to adapt?
"Once again, mechanics are, I'm not huge on them. You can look at [San Diego Chargers QB] Philip Rivers throw, you can look at [New England Patriots QB] Tom Brady throw. Looks completely different, they're both great quarterbacks."
But do you change it up just depending on what you have to do on a given play?
"Yeah. You have to be able to change arm angles, especially on underneath throws to throw around linemen, to throw into windows."
Is Chris Ault correct in his assessment?
Your mechanics. That you're dropping your elbow when you throw.
"I don't look at film that closely about my mechanics of where's my elbow at."
You saw you're not big on mechanics. In your view, is it just getting the ball there, wherever it has to be, no matter how you get it there?
"Yeah. That's the job of the quarterback. Throw it to the receiver so he can catch it. It's that simple."