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Castille's departure could be huge loss for Cornhuskers

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

The announcement earlier today by Nebraska coach Bo Pelini that junior I-back Quentin Castille was kicked off the team sent shock waves shooting through the Nebraska program.

The move is potentially very big for the Cornhuskers.

Castille had come on strongly late in his freshman season and was expected to be a big contributor for Nebraska this season. While I doubt he would have beaten out Roy Helu Jr. for the starting job, Castille still would have provided depth and accentuated the team's biggest offensive strength.

It wasn't out of realm of possibility that Castille could have provided 700 or 800 yards from his back-up position. And his departure places further pressure on untested Nebraska starting quarterback Zac Lee.

Castille had been a headache for Pelini in terms of discipline problems throughout his time at Nebraska. He left the program for several weeks earlier in the summer and returned to his home in Texas, professing that the move had made him ready to play under Pelini's rules when he returned.

Also, an arrest warrant was issued for Castille earlier this year after he failed to appear in court on traffic violations. He was later fined for a missing license plate.

"It's pretty black and white, my expectations and what we lay out as a staff," Pelini told reporters when he made the announcement. "And if someone doesn't follow those policies and guidelines, they're no longer going to be with the football team. And that's the case with Quentin."

His departure means there's an immediate opening behind Helu as the Cornhuskers' No. 2 I-back. Freshman Rex Burkhead has looked good in early practices and will inherit the role.

Austin Jones, Dontrayevous Robinson, Lester Ward and Collins Okafor all will be in the mix at running back. None of the backs behind Helu have a carry at the college level.

Also, look for Marcus Mendoza to immediately surface back in the mix at running back after spending the previous time at camp at wide receiver in a move that Pelini claimed was unrelated to Castille's ouster.

"We were moving Marcus back there anyway," Pelini said. "It was more of his choice."

Now, he's got a shot at immediate playing time in the Huskers' backfield -- along with a lot of other players.