Despite Saturday’s 59-31 loss, Ole Miss fans got a nice glimpse into the future and life after Matt Corral when true freshmen quarterbacks John Rhys Plumlee and Grant Tisdale got into the game against the No. 2 Alabama Crimson Tide and showed they were more than ready for SEC primetime.
Plumlee finished his day with 250 total yards and three total touchdowns while Tisdale came in with under a minute to go and completed two passes for 56 yards and a touchdown. Sure, Plumlee had his struggles with accuracy and yeah Tisdale came in in garbage time, but both looked to be more than capable of doing things in their first year at Ole Miss.
But, what about Matt Corral? The Rebels’ starter is still working his way back from bruised ribs sustained against Cal two weeks ago and in Monday’s press conference, head coach Matt Luke told the media that Plumlee will be getting a shot on Saturday no matter the status of Corral.
"You will see Plumlee this week no matter what happens," Matt Luke said .— Brian Scott Rippee (@bsrippee) September 30, 2019
Wasn't ready to commit to Corral until he sees Corral healthy and throwing in practice. But sounds like there will be a package for Plumlee regardless.
But, taking that a little bit further, I think we’ve seen enough to give both freshmen a shot.
The Plumlee Package should be a thing.
I’ve seen and heard a lot of people making the Taysom Hill comparison. The former BYU quarterback and New Orleans Saints’ weapon is currently employed to do just that for Sean Payton and sure, Plumlee could do the same for Ole Miss. He repeatedly flashed his supreme athleticism and elite speed on Saturday against Alabama’s defense and it would be silly for Luke and offensive coordinator Rich Rodriguez to not have that kind of play maker on the field as much as possible.
The Hattiesburg Hurdler (apologies in advance) is a legit 4.4 runner and has quickness that you can’t teach that did and will come in handy in the future. Our friend Peter Hofmann did a nice breakdown of Plumlee’s ability to affect defenses and give the Rebels a different look on offense.
Here we see him ride the fake on the inside run, only to pull it and waltz into the end zone.
Ole Miss showed three different successful plays out of 21 Personnel (2RB, 1TE), which I'd love to see them run more against Vandy and the rest of the season— Peter Hofmann (@Hoflax24) September 29, 2019
First, QB keep: Defense keys on the handoff and flows to the back, giving Plumlee a walk in TD pic.twitter.com/kGOfam9vr0
Later in the game, we see JRP work the same formation and utilize play-action to roll the pocket and hit fellow freshman Jerrion Ealy in the flats for six.
All in all, the accuracy is going to have to get better from John Rhys, but the ability to make something out of nothing and to extend plays outside of the pocket cannot be promoted enough.
Play the kid. Let him cook.
Grant Tisdale had a nice debut.
The other freshman signal caller came in for mop-up duty, but he maximized his opportunities. He was accurate through the air and was also fleet of feet on the ground, getting a first down on fourth down before tossing his first touchdown as an Ole Miss Rebel.
Tisdale may not have the elite speed that Plumlee has but he’s a steady-Eddie 4.5 type runner who has been running this type of offense since he was in middle school. On that particular 4th-and-1, he pulled the football from Isaiah Woullard’s belly when the defensive end crashed down and scooted around the edge for an easy first down.
And about that right arm.
Now, I get what you’re screaming at the page while you’re reading this.
“Zach, he only threw two passes!”
Sure, but they were both very accurate and in rhythm. With that said, against a less than fierce conference opponent within the friendly confines of Vaught-Hemingway Stadium, I think you give him a shot.
Especially if things get out of hand and Vanderbilt begins to lie down because losing by a lot of points on the road is not fun.
Matt Corral is the guy when healthy.
This is a tricky situation. But, it’s a good “problem” to have if you’re Luke and Ole Miss. You have three more than capable guys in your quarterback room who have all shown signs of being able to run your offense. But, as stated above, Luke and staff are not sure if Corral is 100% back from those bruised ribs he suffered in the Cal loss.
But, if he is, he’s your guy.
As of now.
Plumlee deserves a package and Tisdale needs to get reps if you build a comfortable lead. But, if Corral is struggling early and Vandy is hanging around, I think you then need to make a tough decision. It’s not time to give up on Corral obviously since he has been pretty good at times in his first true year as a starter, but you can’t deny the ability that both Plumlee and Tisdale have.