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Matt Corral poised to make debut against Memphis as Rebels’ starting QB

Matt Corral poised to make debut against Memphis as Rebels’ starting QB

OXFORD, Miss. — Although it will be his first game to start at quarterback for the Rebels, redshirt freshman Matt Corral shows no signs of nerves.

In fact, as he spoke with media after practice Wednesday, Corral was the picture of calm, looking forward to the upcoming game against Memphis. 

Matt Corral

Matt Corral throws the ball in practice last week. (Photo credit: Petre Thomas, OMA)

The 6-foot-1, 206-pound quarterback out of Ventura, California says he doesn’t feel any additional pressure as he prepares to make his debut as the Ole Miss starter. 

“Just going into it like a regular game,” he said frankly. 

You can tell Corral is all business. His answers are concise and to the point. And who could blame him when so many in the media have written off his team this fall? 

It’s almost as if the California native knows something those folks don’t. 

When asked if he enjoys having this team overlooked by the media, Corral smiled and responded simply, “I love it,” and when asked if he has anything to prove, he replied, “turning the Ole Miss program around to where it used to be.” 

Although he may be young, Corral absolutely understands the importance of this first contest against Memphis. “This game is going to set the tone,” he said. 

We’re going to be ready…we brought it (the energy at practice) up like six notches for sure. It’s game week, it’s here. Everyone has that feeling of more urgency… We are going to go very fast (against Memphis), very fast for sure.

Matt Corral on Memphis game

Chemistry not a problem with new WRs

With so many new wide receivers on the team, some wonder if Corral has had time to establish a connection with his young “Nasty Wide Outs” after losing so much talent from last season?

“I feel like we’ve done enough,” he began. “We’re always going to keep working, and the chemistry can always get better. But I feel like with the scheme we run and the way Rich Rod wants it done, I think we’ll get it done.”

Stable of talented running backs

Offensive coordinator Rich Rodriguez will want to establish the run game early and often against Memphis. 

Corral spoke briefly about his very talented stable of running backs at his disposal. “They are all different kind of running backs,” he explained. 

Scottie and Ealy and Snoop and Isaiah Woullard, all those guys are workhorses. Can’t forget about Snoop. All those guys have done their part this year. It’s going to show come game time.

QB Matt Corral on Rebel RBs

Corral and offensive line welcome back Givens

Alex Givens

A key factor in running the ball centers around whether the Rebels’ inexperienced offensive line can match up against their competition this fall. 

And an important piece of that O-line has been sidelined, up until Tuesday, for most of fall camp; Alex Givens has returned at right tackle but was limited to some degree during Tuesday and Wednesday’s practices. 

It is easy to see how relieved Corral feels having his veteran tackle back on the field. “Really nice,” he smiled. “I mean, I got comfortable with the O-line before, but just having AG out there is for sure a plus.”

Coach Luke also addressed Givens’ situation Wednesday. “Alex has practiced full speed both days in pads,” said Luke. 

Obviously, he’s not going to be like he’s been practicing the whole time, but, again, like we said earlier, his experience gives him a chance. He obviously won’t be able to play the full game, but just having him out there from a morale standpoint and with the team, he means so much to those guys, I just think it will be very positive and whatever he can give us will be a big boost.

Ole Miss head coach Matt Luke on Givens

Bottom line

Corral obviously has confidence in his offensive line — and in the entirety of his team — going into Saturday’s game against Memphis. 

We’ve been practicing against each other since January and haven’t been in a game since November. We’re hungry, so it’s going to be exciting.

Matt Corral

Matt Corral, August 28, 2019 (Video credit: Derrell Hart, The Rebel Walk)

About The Author

Derrell Hart

Derrell has covered Ole Miss athletics in the past for Rebels247 at 247Sports. He attended Delta State University where he graduated with a B.S. in Biology. He is currently pursuing his Pharm.D. at the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy with an expected graduation of May, 2020.

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