San Francisco 49ers: How Can Colin Kaepernick Avoid A “Sophomore” Slump?

Jan 20, 2013; Atlanta, GA, USA; San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) warms up prior to the NFC Championship game against the Atlanta Falcons at the Georgia Dome. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

For second year quarterbacks, it’s known as the sophomore slump — that frightening time in a young man’s career when he has to prove that his amazing rookie season wasn’t a fluke.

For Colin Kaepernick, it means showing the world that his run to the Super Bowl in 2012 was legitimate.

Anyone who only had Kaepernick’s rookie performance to draw from might be skeptical; however, anyone who saw Colin play in college knows he is a force to be reckoned with. At Nevada, he became the only NCAA quarterback to pass for 2,500 yards and rush for 1,000. He also ranked second in yardage in 2008 for NCAA quarterbacks with 1,130.

When he became the starter for the 49ers, his record setting ways continued as he set a rushing record for quarterbacks in any game with 181, against Atlanta in the first round off the playoffs.

But, the saying goes that on any given Sunday, anything can happen, and often does. Things go wrong, and sometimes the unexpected happens, and happens fast.

There are things a player can do to avoid being a victim of a second or third year slump, here is a list of things Colin can do to avoid being another quarterback that has a great year then fades into mediocrity.

1. Trust Frank Gore. Frank Gore is one of the leagues great running backs, with a low center of gravity and always running up and down hill, consistently driving for yards after contact.

Kaepernick needs to trust Gore with the running game and allow him to help him move the ball down field. As demonstrated in the Super Bowl, the 49ers threw the ball on three straight downs when they could have given it to Gore and let him gain the small yardage and had the opportunity to score what could have been the winning touchdown.

2. Throw the ball. Unlike some so-called running or mobile quarterbacks, Kaepernick has a strong, accurate throwing arm. His ability to hit receivers downfield or across the middle is a thing of beauty.

He is more than a running quarterback; he is a quarterback who can run. He just needs to step up in the pocket and trust his linemen, and not be afraid to check down. There have been times where, in his attempt to extend a play, he lets the play dissolve and ends up with little or nothing.

3. Be Colin Kaepernick. The most important thing Colin Kaepernick can do to avoid a slump this season is to be himself. He is a consummate winner, and he makes the people around him better.

Kaepernick knows what he needs to do to win football games; all that remains is the execution and his ability to let Jim Harbaugh work his magic through him. If Kaepernick can manage to do what he has been doing since college, the 49ers will be in great shape to make another Super Bowl appearance in February.

Topics: Colin Kaepernick, Jim Harbaugh, San Francisco 49ers

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