Student of the Game: Matt Corral preparing for 2020 Egg Bowl
OXFORD, Miss. — According to the football media guide, Ole Miss quarterback Matt Corral is a General Studies major at the University.
It must be an outstanding program.
Corral used several aspects of his education when he described the Rebels’ system, teammates and past.
His mathematical skills he has acquired during his time in Oxford have translated from the classroom to the playing field, and they have the Ole Miss offense clicking. Corral has taken the algorithms calculated by Head Coach Lane Kiffin and Offensive Coordinator Jeff Lebby and those tabulations have equaled some impressive numbers on the stat sheets.
Matt Corral: ‘You’re not going to put 10 guys on No. 8’
“I mean, just Kiffin and Lebby really being able to get the matchup we want (is the key to the offense’s success), Corral said Monday. “You know, the defense can only do so much. You’re not going to put ten guys on No. 8 (Elijah Moore). You know, if they do this, we’re going to do that..like, it’s a numbers game, and when we feel like we’re outnumbered there, we’re going to go somewhere where we’re not outnumbered,” Corral explained.
“And it’s just that back and forth, and then us realizing that we get an isolation on No. 8 (Moore). Sometimes they are going to trick us and sometimes we’re going to get them, and that’s just how that’s just how football works. But, you know, just watching (Moore) from a standpoint of his game and his technique of his route running — it’s just like I said before — it’s prolific.”
Ole Miss QB Matt Corral
As well as Corral has mastered his mathematical skills, the redshirt sophomore seems to also be a student of history. Last year, he led the Rebels’ on a last-minute drive for a touchdown against Mississippi State that put Ole Miss within an extra point of tying the score.
Like historical dates in class, Corral has committed that drive to memory.
The Final Drive
“I remember that last drive vividly because none of those plays that we ran were the plays that were called, I just checked everything,” Corral said.
“Elijah had a post from the slot and the outside guy had (I’m talking on the conversion from the fourth and 25)…. Elijah had a bender, like a 10 or 20-yard post because of the down and distance. But I knew that they were going to be double teaming him and they’re in a two high. So, they’re going to use that field safety to double team with the field backer, and Braylon had a 12 or a 15-yard stop or go,” Corral continued.
“And I just told him to run a post and then me and (former wide receiver coach Jacob) Peeler got in — like we didn’t get into it — but he was telling Braylon one thing and I was telling Braylon the other when we were in the huddle. Braylon was looking at me like he didn’t know what to do, and I was just telling him, run the post,” Corral recalled.
“…(H)e ran the post and then we got down to there and it gets fuzzy in between after that play. But we somehow ended up on the one yard, two-yard line,” Corral continued. “We got down to the four. But that last play to Elijah, the play that was called was a sprint out Right, with a flat and a go and backside slants….The guy was inside leverage on Elijah and I tapped Mingo on the go, and then I gave Elijah a slant out like a pivot. And then that was when he scored. And then after that, that’s where we stop.”
Of course, after that touchdown, Moore was penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct which made the conversion much longer. It was missed, giving State the 21-20 win.
Which brings up a course Corral has obviously aced – chemistry.
The Corral-Moore partnership has a chemistry that is difficult to find. Not only on the field – where Corral set an Ole Miss record with 513 yards against South Carolina and Moore established a new SEC standard with back-to-back 225-yard receiving games – but how the players know one another.
Corral can see the emotional growth in Moore.
“Just his mindset,” Corral said about how his receiver has matured.
“I mean, we’ve all pretty much grown in one way or another in a positive way. I think for him it was just, you know, not getting caught up in the moment, taking a step back and realizing what’s going on. And I mean, like he was excited at the moment, like, it is what it is. You can’t change it. But it happened for a reason. And here we are now with another opportunity.”
Matt Corral on his and Elijah Moore’s maturity
That opportunity begins at 3 p.m. Saturday at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. Apart from being the annual Egg Bowl, it is also Senior Day, the last time for some Rebels to ever wear an Ole Miss uniform
Should Corral be able to apply his learned lessons into his effort on the field this week, the Ole Miss seniors will graduate with a win.
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.