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Matt Corral’s leadership skills are as strong as his on-field performance

Matt Corral’s leadership skills are as strong as his on-field performance

Legions of Ole Miss fans are getting used to seeing quarterback Matt Corral’s name atop the statistical leaders in college football this season. His Rebel teammates are becoming accustomed to seeing something that can only be seen from the field – a leader.

During the Alabama game – a 62-48 loss to the Tide – Ole Miss was driving for what could have been a game-tying touchdown. On a crucial third down, Corral lined up under center instead of in the shotgun formation. Then Rebels’ center did not realize where his quarterback was and snapped the ball as if Corral were lined up deep in the backfield. The result was a fumbled snap that hindered Ole Miss’ scoring opportunity.

When asked about the play after the game, Corral assumed the role of leader and took the blame for the miscommunication upon his own shoulders.

“He (the center) thought I was in shotgun, and I take responsibility for that.” Corral said. “In practice, I always told him and that one time I didn’t tell him, and it backfired on me. I put that on myself, that was my fault.”

While critics point to the Rebels’ defense, as Ole Miss is giving up 51.67 points per game, Corral will have none of the negative talk about his teammates on that side of the ball.

“Regardless how our defense plays, we (the offense) need to do our job,” Corral said.

As for the job Corral is doing, his head coach is pleased with the signal-caller’s performance thus far this season.

“He’s played lights-out, which is difficult,” Lane Kiffin said after the ‘Bama game. “I don’t know many people would’ve expected that having no spring and in a quarterback competition. It’s not like he’s an established starter in the third year of a system. This is all new for him.”

Corral’s success is no surprise

What is not new for Corral is statistical success. As a high school star at Long Beach (Calif.) Poly, he always put up big numbers. Corral was responsible for over 11,000 yards and 123 touchdowns in his prep career. His college numbers are impressive as well.

Corral leads the nation in total offense, accounting for 407 yards per game. Against Alabama, he threw for 365 and ran for another 54. He leads the nation in ESPN Total QBR, slightly ahead of Tide QB Mac Jones. (Click here for our “QB Film Room” article.)

Corral is also second nationally in passing efficiency at 210.7 and fifth in passing yards per game at 360.

In only three games this season, he is 67-0f-88 for 1,080 yards and nine touchdowns. Corral has also rushed for 141 yards.

Saturday evening when the media attempted to turn the conversation back to the performance of the defense, Corral deftly shifted it back to the Ole Miss offense.

“You can’t have turnovers. We had a fumble and a crucial (one) when we needed to score. We can’t have those little mistakes. Like Coach Kiffin said, a team like that, when you make mistakes, you can’t make many of them. When they make mistakes you need to capitalize on it, and we didn’t do that tonight,” said Corral. 

That is exactly how a leader speaks.  

Next Up:

Ole Miss is 1-2 as the Rebels head to Fayetteville, Ark., to take on the 1-2 Razorbacks Saturday. Kickoff is set for 2:30 p.m. and the game can be seen on the SEC Network.

Steve Barnes
Steve Barnes

Steve Barnes joins The Rebel Walk staff as a senior writer and brings a trifecta of journalistic experience. As a writer, he has covered college sports for Rivals.com, Football.com and SaturdayDownSouth.com as well as served as a beat writer for various traditional newspapers.

He has been a broadcaster for arena football and several national tournament events for the National Junior College Athletic Association as well as hosting various shows on radio.

A former sports information director at Albany (Ga.) State University and an assistant at Troy and West Florida, he has helped host many NCAA conference, regional and national events, including serving five years on the media committee of the NCAA Division II World Series.

Barnes, a native of Pensacola, Fla., attended Ole Miss in 1983-84, where his first journalism teacher was David Kellum. The duo has come a long way since that time.

He will bring a proven journalistic track record, along with a knack for finding the out-of-the-ordinary story angles to The Rebel Walk.

Barnes continues to reside in Pensacola a mere ten minutes from the beach because he does have taste and a brain.

About The Author

Steve Barnes

Steve Barnes joins The Rebel Walk staff as a senior writer and brings a trifecta of journalistic experience. As a writer, he has covered college sports for Rivals.com, Football.com and SaturdayDownSouth.com as well as served as a beat writer for various traditional newspapers. He has been a broadcaster for arena football and several national tournament events for the National Junior College Athletic Association as well as hosting various shows on radio. A former sports information director at Albany (Ga.) State University and an assistant at Troy and West Florida, he has helped host many NCAA conference, regional and national events, including serving five years on the media committee of the NCAA Division II World Series. Barnes, a native of Pensacola, Fla., attended Ole Miss in 1983-84, where his first journalism teacher was David Kellum. The duo has come a long way since that time. He will bring a proven journalistic track record, along with a knack for finding the out-of-the-ordinary story angles to The Rebel Walk. Barnes continues to reside in Pensacola a mere ten minutes from the beach because he does have taste and a brain.

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