For Grant Tisdale the question, likely, was not if, but when?
When there are four scholarship quarterbacks and another highly-rated high school player committed, it’s understandable that the Ole Miss position room feels crowded. There aren’t enough footballs to go around.
Quarterbacks, especially those with a basket full of scholarship offers, want to play, and the NCAA’s new transfer portal makes it easier for players of all positions give it a go somewhere else.
Nothing speaks to players like playing time, and Tisdale had become the odd man out in the quarterback room.
He wasn’t seriously given a chance to compete to start in the spring as redshirt freshman Matt Corral was groomed for the job.
This fall, it’s been John Rhys Plumlee who has rocketed up the ladder with his speed, quickness and run-game savvy, things that Tisdale doesn’t offer.
Plumlee is a running quarterback in a running offense.
Tisdale’s small body of work – really nice touch on a couple of touchdown passes in the spring game and at Alabama – suggests he should have gotten a closer look, especially as it’s become clear that Plumlee can’t carry the passing game right now.
It’s just as clear that a player of Plumlee’s skill set is the preference of offensive coordinator Rich Rodriguez. While a second quarterback is necessary to threaten with the pass, Corral’s accuracy has improved since the early games. Much has been invested in Corral, and Rodriguez has not been inclined to move away from him.
Perhaps had Tisdale played a little more and been managed differently he might have been enticed to stay, but to what end? To wait for an injury or something else to create an opening? The Rodriguez approach to offense is not going to change.
It’s possible that Rodriguez moves on, and there’s another style for Ole Miss around the corner, but it’s not fair to expect Tisdale to wait around and hope for that.
Unfortunately Grant Tisdale was unable to maximize his college opportunity at Ole Miss, and sometimes it works out that way.
Coaches can work to hold onto these guys to some degree, but they need not go overboard in the attempt. They also should not fall in love with the redshirt approach to try and create that coveted group of fifth-year seniors. College football is much more fluid than it once was.
Coaches need to trust in their ability to sign the next impact freshman – as Matt Luke appears ready to do with Hoover, Alabama, quarterback Robby Ashford – and learn to use the transfer portal to their advantage no matter the position.
Somewhere in there, a Grant Tisdale is waiting for your call.