Ole Miss QB Matt Corral, WR Jonathan Mingo staying focused and tuning out the noise
OXFORD, Miss. — The Ole Miss offense enters Saturday’s matchup against No. 1 Alabama with the top offense in the country, averaging 635.5 yards per game. Led by quarterback Matt Corral, the Rebels will have their work cut out for them Saturday in Tuscaloosa.
Win the Day
As for Corral, he has tremendous respect for his opponent but is not intimidated. “We’re not worried about who we are playing.” Corral said Monday.
“We’re worried about how we handle each practice individually. We’re worried about today. We’re not worried about Alabama even though they are a great team, and they are the best team we’re going to face this year. We’re not worried about them, right now. We’re worried about having the best practice we can, today.”
Matt Corral on playing Alabama
Wide receiver Jonathan Mingo echoed his QB’s sentiment. “We just try to go out there and get better each week. I really hate we had a bye week. I wish we could’ve played. It was big for everybody to try and get back healthy. Now it’s game week, go out there and prepare everyday, be 1-0.”
Matt Corral is the undisputed leader of his Ole Miss team. As such, he took it upon himself to make sure everyone stayed on task during the bye week. “I definitely was on top of everybody just to make sure there was no lack of focus going on,” Corral commented.
Everyone knows how talented the Ventura, California quarterback is with his arms and legs. But it takes more than just talent to separate a good quarterback from a great one.
Lane Kiffin spoke this week on the intangibles he sees in his quarterback.
“He’s here at 5:30 in the morning, every morning. The way that he prepares, he comes to meetings, his approach to it. Getting on players when they’re not doing things right, even defensively. It’s really those leadership things when you guys aren’t looking.”
Lane Kiffin on Matt Corral
Mingo makes his presence known
Mingo has made quite the impression this season. While he has always had the talent, he didn’t always have the production in previous years. The Brandon, Miss. native was asked to what he attributes his increase in production in 2021. “Fixing my mental aspect, not trying to think as much when I play.” he explained.
Here’s an interesting look and an example of great communication between quarterback Corral and wide receiver Mingo.
Mingo’s hidden at the bottom of the picture but he and Matt both read the blitz off the edge. Mingo hits the brakes on a stop route and Matt gets the ball away an instant before smack down. Then we have an excellent broken tackle and a 33-yard gain.
“Just going out there and playing in the moment, not trying to put too much pressure on myself. Go out there and have fun, makes plays and play with confidence.”
Mingo on his increased production
Muting the Noise
Earlier this season, Corral let local beat writers know he was going to take some time off social media to block out any outside noise — good or bad.
With all the excitement and attention regarding his position atop the Heisman odds, one might wonder how Corral tunes out all the hype.
— Derrell Hart Jr., Pharm.D. (@Derrell_PharmD) September 19, 2021
“Honestly people just ask me about it when I come in here (media room),” Corral smiled and said.
“You know that’s cool, that’s awesome that people are saying that but it’s not a point of focus. I’m not putting any energy into it. The team shouldn’t either and they don’t.”
Matt Corral on blocking out talk of Heisman chances
Mingo agrees with his QB on staying focused without the distraction of outside noise.
“I don’t pay too much attention to social media.” Mingo said. “We try to block out the hype. Everybody knows the only way we can win is to play our game.”
Yards + Points = Fun
It has to be fun playing in an offense like the Rebels’ that puts up so many yards and scores so many points.
“It’s just Coach Lebby and Coach Kiffin trusting me to get to the right spot.” Corral said when asked just what it’s like to be the leader of such an explosive unit.
“We can keep calling these deep shot plays over and over and over, but if I keep forcing them downfield and us not get any yards, we can’t keep running it. As long as I keep hitting my checkdown and keep getting to where I’m supposed to get to, I’m allowing them to keep calling those plays because we are consistently getting yards. That just comes from a trust thing. Me being the second year in the system I think helps a lot.”
Ole Miss and Alabama kick off at 2:30 p.m. (CT) Saturday at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa. The game will be televised on CBS.
Nick Filipich was born and raised in Biloxi, MS. He is an Ole Miss senior majoring in Sports and Recreation Administration. A sports junkie with a great passion for all things Ole Miss, Nick played baseball and football in high school — which is where he discovered his love for sports. He is an avid Braves and Saints fan, and in his free time enjoys spending time with family, friends and his black lab, Dixie.