OXFORD • Ole Miss coaches have not publicly named a No. 2 quarterback.
Privately, that may be another matter. At least Grant Tisdale speaks like a guy confident in his position in the race to be the first option behind starter Matt Corral.
Tisdale, John Rhys Plumlee and Kinkead Dent are all trying to become that guy. All three are true freshmen while Corral himself is a redshirt freshman who has appeared in only four games.
Dent and Plumlee were the “live” quarterbacks in last Saturday’s scrimmage meaning they were available for full-contact tackling. There was no whistle before they hit the ground. Dent hit it hard and spent this week in concussion protocol which put him behind in the competition.
The Rebels will scrimmage again today, and it’s possible there could be a different plan for who’s live and who isn’t.
“Grant was here in the spring so he’s probably ahead mentally, but John Rhys is a really good athlete, and he’s a really smart guy. Those two and Matt are splitting the rotation and reps,” offensive coordinator Rich Rodriguez said.
Earlier this camp Rodriguez said he could see the competition for Corral’s backup continuing through the first few games of the season.
It’s Tisdale, though, who speaks as though he knows something else.
“Matt’s bringing me along. Coach Rod is helping me, all my teammates are helping me. I’m just trying to learn from those guys, the guys that have been here in the past, just trying to help the team win in any way I can, just be ready because I’m always one snap away. I’m just trying to mentally prepare and get ready for the season,” he said.
A four-star recruit, Tisdale (6-foot, 205) was billed as a dual-threat quarterback but one who looks to pass first. He threw a 19-yard touchdown pass in the spring game.
He said during the spring he was “running around like a puppy” but has since become more confident, something he attributes to daily contact with the wide receivers and other quarterbacks – plus a lot of time in the playbook – in the off-season.
While speaking with confidence he stopped short of declaring himself the primary backup to Matt Corral.
“That’s not really up to me. I’m just trying to come to work every day and prove that I’m one of the best options for this team, and I can help get wins here,” Tisdale said.