Editor’s Note: Welcome to our first edition of “The Rebel Walk QB Film Room!” To take a look at Ole Miss quarterback Matt Corral’s SEC debut last Saturday against Arkansas, The Rebel Walk turns to David Walker, former four-year starting quarterback at Texas A&M. If anyone out there understands what it’s like for a young quarterback to lead a major D1 team, it’s David.
David is the consummate true-freshman quarterback, first pioneering the position only a year after college freshmen were given varsity eligibility by the NCAA in 1972. In 1973, the left-handed all-state gunslinger from Sulphur, Louisiana started for the Texas A&M Aggies and earned the All-Southwest Conference Freshman of the Year award as selected by the league’s coaches. He was only 17, and still holds the NCAA record as the youngest starting quarterback in college football history. He wore No. 8 at A&M in honor of one of his football heroes, Archie Manning.
In becoming the winningest quarterback ever at A&M, David was converted from a dual-threat QB to a triple option trailblazer. The two-time team captain led three record-breaking offenses that changed the direction of football at A&M forever, establishing once and for all the winning tradition that the Aggies had so-long desired.
As a high school head coach in Houston in the late ‘80s, David stationed his quarterback in the shotgun formation, having him reading defenses and throwing hot routes at a time when such offensive schemes were frowned upon by traditional fans and coaches. One of his quarterbacks tossed 57 passes in a single game, which stood as the all-time Greater Houston Area record for many years.
As you can tell from his bona fides, David is extremely qualified as our expert on all things Quarterback at Ole Miss. Enjoy his exclusive analysis only here at The Rebel Walk!
The Rebel Walk QB Film Room – Arkansas
Matt Corral started his first SEC game as the quarterback of the Ole Miss Rebels last Saturday, and what a game he had! After going 16-of-24 for 246 yards and two touchdowns through the air, and notching another 46 yards on the ground, Corral was awarded SEC Freshman of the Week Honors from the league office. I was impressed with Corral’s performance and here are some reasons why.
Corral Highlight No. 1
You have to like everything you see about the Rebels’ young Matt Corral on his first big throw of the Arkansas game.
Here, he’s in a no-back set with Trips to the wide side of the field, working against a Cover 2 look in the secondary. It doesn’t take Elijah Moore long to find the open spot, and Corral lasers the football 28 yards for the first-down completion.
Corral Highlight No. 2
Here on third and 7, the Rebels call for the sprint-out pass to the right side of the field out of the one-back set. They are again in Trips to the wide side with a tight end as the third receiver.
The Rebels catch the Hogs in a safety blitz, who is picked up by the running back, while Dontario Drummond runs a perfect 7-yard out route. Corral delivers the football with authority and one broken tackle later, the Rebels have a big gain.
Corral Highlight No. 3
Here, with six in the box and the football in the middle of the field on 2nd and 22, Ole Miss goes to a one-back Trips set to their right. Personnel-wise, they’ve inserted tight end Jason Pellerin who is aligned in the flex position.
Again catching the defense in Cover 2 with no distinct coverage on the tight end, he works the middle of the field between and underneath the two safeties. Corral delivers this one under extreme pressure, yet it’s right on the money.
Corral Highlight No. 4
In this highlight, you’ll see Corral make one of the best throws you’ll see from a quarterback. The call is for another sprint out to his right with the second receiver running a wheel route (flat and up).
To this point, Corral has been able to throw these on time, but here the defensive end speeds by the blocker and is in the QB’s face just as he begins his release. From this angle, no one’s expecting a completion, yet the football drops perfectly into Elijah Moore’s hands. Great play!
Corral Highlight No. 5
This is a very-well designed play, again out of the Trips formation to the wide side. Corral will fake a quick hitch to the left, then sprints right.
The second receiver flattens out while the wide receiver streaks downfield. The third receiver then runs a deep out pattern behind the cornerback, who’s forced to respect the short route. Again, a perfect throw on the run from Corral to Elijah Moore.
Corral Highlight No. 6
Here’s an excellent run scheme for the quarterback. You have Twins to the wide side and a tight end set as an H-Back to the right. The tight end will take his linebacker wide on a “pass pattern” as Corral fakes to the running back.
The quarterback then attacks the defensive end for what appears to be an option play, but obviously, with the quick feet of Corral, it’s a designated run with no pitch back. All he has to do is fake out the defensive end and cut upfield, which he does with precision.
Corral Highlight No. 7
This is one of those great stretch plays where the quarterback has two lead blockers in the backfield with him, an H-Back and a running back, and they take off, in this instance to the short side of the field.
Here you see both of them getting great blocks, and all of the offensive linemen doing an excellent job of reaching and sealing the frontline defenders. Speed’s a factor on this play and Corral has it.
Corral Highlight No. 8
The Rebels line up in Trips left to the wide side of the field. It’s 3rd-and-5 with five in the box, so you have the option to run or throw here.
Notice, again, there is no distinct defender covering the third receiver, the one closest to the quarterback. He’s a “hot” receiver at this point in the pre-snap thought process. A seam pattern or a soft post would be the best bet here, and that’s exactly what the Rebels go with.
Corral squeezes the ball in just before the linebacker arrives and Elijah Moore does the rest, a beautiful job of open-field running.
Thanks for checking out this week’s edition of The Rebel Walk QB Film Room! I’ll be back next week with a look at the Ole Miss quarterback position against Southeastern Louisiana.