SEC Media Days Football

Ole Miss quarterback Matt Corral meets the press on Tuesday afternoon at SEC Media Days.

HOOVER, Ala.

Matt Corral led the nation in total offense with 384.3 yards a game last year and totaled 29 touchdown passes.

What would have to happen for Corral to average 400 yards a game and surpass 35 touchdowns in 2021?

Just a little more consistency.

Corral, with a gunslinger mentality as the Ole Miss quarterback, also had 14 interceptions.

It’s that number combined, perhaps, with doubts as to how good the Rebels can really be in Year 2 under Lane Kiffin, that has Corral a little under the radar for a guy with such explosive numbers.

While there’s been some Heisman Trophy talk for Corral, SEC quarterbacks JT Daniels of Georgia and Bryce Young of Alabama have better odds to win the award according to Betonline.ag, a sports book website.

All three were Los Angeles area high school stars.

Daniels has played in only four games at Georgia. Young played in nine last year behind Alabama’s Mac Jones.

“We’ve got to get him to play more consistent. He played great at times, and he played really poorly at times,” said Ole Miss coach Lane Kiffin as he addressed Media Days attendees Tuesday.

Corral did play poorly at times.

If he was a little better at Arkansas and at LSU last year Ole Miss likely wins those games.

One of the most impressive things about the Rebels’ 4-5 regular season was Ole Miss had the ball at the end with a chance to win both of those games in spite of the interceptions Corral had already thrown.

The flip side is Corral wouldn’t have reached those numbers – six interceptions at Arkansas and five at LSU – had Kiffin pulled him, given him time to regain composure and see some things from the sideline.

Kiffin, though, believed strongly that Corral was his starting quarterback and did not want to upset player confidence which can sometimes be fragile.

“Coach Kiffin and coach (Jeff) Lebby left me in that (Arkansas) game for a reason. They didn’t yank me. They made sure I understood that I was the guy,” Corral said.

It’s a move – or non-move – that could pay huge dividends this season.

Corral doesn’t back away from consistency talk.

“That’s going to come from film study, having a plan and being able to respond to what’s different,” he said.

Defensive back Jaylon Jones, who also made the Media Days trip, believes Corral will make the jump.

“He’ll have way more numbers than before because of his mental side of it,” Jones said. “You can tell he’s noticing things before the ball is snapped.”

That’s good news for the Rebels.

Expectations abound for Ole Miss, and if Corral can find the balance between aggression and ball-protection the college football nation will notice him and his teammates alike.

PARRISH ALFORD is the college sports editor and columnist for the Daily Journal. Contact him at parrish.alford@journalinc.com.

Tags

Recommended for you

comments powered by Disqus