QB Film Room: Ole Miss defeats Vanderbilt in a record-breaking day
Editor’s Note: Welcome to our “QB Film Room,” where former four-year, Division I starting quarterback David Walker takes a look at the performance of the Ole Miss QB in the Rebels’ most recent game. In this edition, David examines Matt Corral’s record-breaking day in the 54-21 win over Vanderbilt.
OXFORD, Miss. — Prior to the Rebels’ game against Vanderbilt, I began re-thinking our QB1 Film Room’s approach to quarterback play analysis. Specifically, I think a film room is not just a place for highlights, but is also a room for discovering the basis for the proper execution of a football play, play-by-play, throughout a game.
So, after agreement to delve not only into the plays with sterling execution but also into those that went awry to examine what happened, the Ole Miss coaches and quarterbacks handed us the near-perfect game as just about everything Ole Miss did offensively last Saturday worked like a charm against the Commodores.
For the second time, quarterback Matt Corral achieved the highest weekly ESPN Total QBR score (97.7) of any Power 5 quarterback in the country. Going into the Rebels’ bye weekend, Corral now stands fifth overall for the season in this metric at just a shade under 90.
How good was Corral’s game against Vandy? Well, he broke an all-time school record — formerly held by Eli Manning — with his NINETEEN straight pass completions, finishing 31-of-34 for 412 yards, six touchdowns, and no interceptions against the Commodores.
Meanwhile, four-year starting A&M quarterback Kellen Mond opened the season with a career-low 32.4 QBR against this same Vanderbilt team, but then crushed the Arkansas Razorbacks in his last outing. So what’s that tell ya?
Football is a tricky game indeed.
So, with that said, let’s look at some highlights, shall we?
This pass play is the perfect illustration of what is necessary to beat the Drop 8 defenses that are in vogue at the midway point (for the SEC anyway) of the season. In earlier QB1 Film Rooms, we’ve discussed coverages available to defensive coordinators, from 2-high, Cover 2 with “squat” technique by the Corners, to Cover 3, Cover 2-Man, Man, etc.
On this play, Vanderbilt aligns in a 3-man front with a single safety, two deep cornerbacks, and five men underneath to take away the flats, curls, and the intermediate middle ground.
What do you do to beat it? You get behind the underneath coverage and between the safety and the cornerback.
What do you have to have at your disposal in order to make it happen before your protection breaks down? Tremendous speed and a cannon for an arm. Check and check.
Watch the slot receiver up top, Elijah Moore, fly to that one vulnerable spot in this defense, and quarterback Matt Corral zing it in there. The coaching point for the QB here is to have ZERO air under the ball. It’s quite a trick for a football traveling this distance. Done.
Okay, quick. How much playing time does Vanderbilt’s left cornerback have under his belt? Coaches know.
So, let’s put the formation to the short side of the field, shall we? We’ll have our tight end and two split receivers over there to our left. With all the hot routes and wide receiver screens that offenses use, you force a defense to get eyes on eyes at every position. Oh, and a 4-man front to boot — some respect for that running game.
Short side it is, then… leaving old Number 8, he of a record number of receiving yards to his name when it’s all said and done, all alone with this one aforementioned cornerback on the wide side of the field.
Well, we all know what happens next, right? Burned. Elijah Moore for six.
I’m including this play because it exhibits some of the complexities and remedies for what defenses are doing schematically. Here, Vandy lines up in a 3-man front but brings five.
The secondary is in Man coverage. Elijah Moore is down to the right in the slot and will run a deep crossing pattern. The tight end stays in to block, the wide receiver up top runs off his man, the running back slips into the left flat, and Corral makes a tremendously accurate throw.
This play is very well designed and executed, but again, it takes arm talent and outstanding speed to hit these spots in a timely manner.
Here’s an example of a hot route read. Pre-snap the QB sees what’s probably going to be a blitz off the left corner. When it occurs, slot receiver Elijah Moore runs a quick stop route for easy access, and is off to the races. Oh, if they were all so detectable.
Here we have maximum protection and a 3-man route… but who’re we kidding?
Elijah Moore is in the slot up top. One of the route combinations employed against a Cover 2 look is a short route outside and a deep corner route on top of it. The QB reads the Corner and goes short to deep.
In this variance, Moore will fake the post to get the safety’s hips turned, then burn him on the Go route looking over his inside shoulder. Corral once again has a perfectly placed ball ready for reception.
This one’s included for the sake of posterity. If you have volume, you’ll hear why.
Now, nobody can tell you whether or not anyone knew that on the next play they had a date with destiny, and I wouldn’t hazard a guess, but there’s a huge record being broken here. Way to go, Eli. Way to go, Matt. LFG, baby.
Here’s another deep shot to Elijah Moore with a little different twist to it. It doesn’t seem to matter how deep Vandy’s safeties get, they’re still not going to be able to cover Number 8.
On this one, the blitz is coming and full pass protection handles it amply. Moore runs a stutter-step fade route and once again, Matt places the ball in there perfectly.
At this point in the game, it’s like they’re throwing against air. It’s an outstanding job of execution and design.
Here’s a long ball to Jonathan Mingo that’s nicely executed against press coverage at the bottom of the screen. Like they’ve said for ages, “We’re going to take what they give us.” Well, we’ll just take that Go route, thank you. Matt Corral has another excellent deep ball and the Rebels are set up for another score.
No, no. Drummond caught this one for six. Anytime you send No. 8 across the ball in motion, cornerbacks have to respect him, which allows Drummond to slip in behind one for the score. Once again, a great throw by Corral.
Let’s squeeze one in here to Kenny Yeboah for good measure. The Rebels’ tight end had an outstanding game both blocking and receiving.
Matt Corral discussing Eli Manning and his own record-breaking day immediately following the game. Congratulations, young man.
The Rebels are off this weekend and will return to play South Carolina at Vaught-Hemingway on November 14 at 6:30 p.m. (CT).