During last week’s 28-20 loss to Cal, redshirt freshman Matt Corral suffered bruised ribs in a performance that saw him go 22-for-41 for 266 yards and rushing for a team-high 56 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries. Now, he is listed as day-to-day and per sources at Red Cup Rebellion, he did not practice on Monday.
In his place taking first team reps this week is almost-Cal hero, true freshman John Rhys Plumlee. All he did in first action in a Rebel uniform was go 7-for-7 for 82 yards through the air and 53 yards on the ground.
So, with the late-game heroics fresh on Ole Miss fans’ minds, most people are wanting to see more Plumlee.
But, what about Grant Tisdale, the other true freshman signal caller from Allen, Tex. who was listed as the backup? Rich Rodriguez said in media availability this week that he went with Plumlee in the Cal game due to the play call on third and long. But, who is to say that Tisdale won’t see some snaps this week, too?
And where does all this leave Corral for this weekend’s 2:30 SEC on CBS showdown with Alabama? As you might have guessed by now, I’ve got some ideas. Here goes.
Alabama doesn’t have any tape on Plumlee or Tisdale.
Look, it’s quite obvious that this Ole Miss team is not equipped to beat No. 2 Alabama on the road this weekend. And your starting quarterback is not 100% due to some bruised ribs. So what do you do? You play the two four-star dual-threat quarterbacks that you have on your roster that Nick Saban and Pete Golding know little about, that’s what.
Plumlee was electric in limited action last week against Cal. Tisdale is a dude that lost only one game as a high school starter and has a similar skill set that John Rhys brings to the table. This is a freebie in my opinion for not only Ole Miss, but for Rich Rodriguez as a play caller on Saturday.
No one is going to judge him for letting it all hang out and utilizing his elusive and play making freshmen in a road loss against a top-five team that is more than likely on their way to win the division for the 19th year in a row.
If it works, great, you’re making some plays against a college football playoff team! If it doesn’t then who cares, that is what everyone already expected and you can go back to the drawing board on Sunday for Vanderbilt.
There is nothing to lose.
Matt Corral needs to rest for the homestretch.
Bruised ribs suck. There is no medication to fix them in a few days. You can’t do any mobility stretches or lacrosse ball massaging to get rid of them. It takes time. Time that Ole Miss and Matt Luke just so happen to have at their disposal this week.
Give him the week off to recover and to get ready for Vanderbilt if he’s 100%. If he’s not then give him more time. After the Commodores, the Rebels will travel to Missouri, host Texas A&M, travel to Auburn, then host New Mexico State and LSU, then close with Mississippi State on the road.
So, yeah, there are more meaningful games left. And Matt is just a redshirt freshman. This isn’t his last go-round, not even close. So why jeopardize injuring him further for a meaningless game against the greatest college football dynasty and the greatest college football head coach in the history of the sport?
I’ll answer for you: don’t do it, play the freshmen.
They might be alright.
Plumlee has already showcased a little of his ability in 2019. But, we’ve seen what he can do already during his time as quarterback at Oak Grove High School.
John Rhys Plumlee's half-yard leap on 4th down puts Oak Grove back up 17-14 w/ 26 seconds left in 2Q. pic.twitter.com/H4yU9Sfy7t— Hattiesburg Sports (@hburgsports) September 30, 2017
And what about Tisdale, the former starter at one of the most successful high school football programs? Yeah, he’s “capable”.
Allen 42, Rockwall 33 @ 11:46/3Q. First play of the half after Rockwall's 3rd onside kick try of the game, Grant Tisdale scores on a 54-yard run. Some solid blocking by Darrion Sherfield to help seal the TD run. #SLMGridiron pic.twitter.com/ga54EswFFw— Matt Welch (@MWelchSLM) November 24, 2018
The two guys were pretty damn good in high school, and yes, I know this isn’t high school anymore but look at these combined numbers.
- 10,518 passing yards
- 4,803 rushing yards
- 120 passing touchdowns
- 63 rushing touchdowns
- 25 Power 5 scholarship offers
The ability and aggressive play-style is there in spades. Now it’s only a matter of letting them get their feet wet at Bryant-Denny Stadium on Saturday in a no pressure situation in front of 100,000 fans.
Play loose and have fun.
Ole Miss fans need something right now. If anything, these two will give them a few explosive plays and can keep them on the edge of their seat in a convincing loss to a dominant top-five team. Who cares? It was fun for a few moments and they showed promise and grit in the face of adversity.
That’s what you want in a quarterback, right?
For now, Corral is the starter and the future of the Ole Miss program. He is just a redshirt freshman in his first year as the starter. He is going to have his lumps but he will get better. But, this isn’t the week to get better. Especially not when you’re most likely coming in at 75% at best.
Rest him and play the pups. Who knows, they might surprise us.