SEC Media Days: Underclassman Matt Corral prepares for new leadership role

Posted on Jul 16 2019 - 3:12pm by Madeline Click

HOOVER, Ala. — Only one underclassman represented their respective school at SEC Media Days this year.

Redshirt freshman Matt Corral had the opportunity to speak for Ole Miss to the media in Hoover about this upcoming season, but being the only underclassman didn’t seem like anything unusual to him.

“I didn’t know it was a big deal, I didn’t think anything of it,” Corral said. “It just opened my eyes to Coach Luke really trusting me to come here”

Freshman quarterback Matt Corral takes over for Jordan Ta’amu during the second half of the homecoming game versus Louisiana-Monroe last weekend. Photo by Christian Johnson

The title redshirt freshman doesn’t mean much for Corral. Despite his youth, Corral acts like a seasoned veteran and will be the guy for the Rebels at quarterback this season.

“I feel like I am more outspoken,” he said. “Now I have a say in stuff, and now we’re on the same page and as long as we stay on what we’re doing right now, we’re going to be good.”

Corral greatly benefited from this new rule. He was able to play in four games last season and gain some experience while still keeping his redshirt.

The Rebels have a group of four freshmen at quarterback, which may seem scary to some. Corral now has that experience playing against SEC teams and can help better prepare for this season and lead the younger quarterbacks under him.

“I believe if I were to get hurt right now, I would have a good amount of confidence in either one of them,” Corral said. “They’re smart and bright kids and they know what it takes. They just don’t have the experience and don’t have the luxury of having those four games like I did.”

In Corral’s four games last season, he completed 16-22 pass attempts for 239 yards and two touchdowns. His confidence is most worth noting. The reason the Rebels feel so assured in leaning on a redshirt freshman to lead the team is because of his confidence and ability to speak up and make things happen.

Quarterback Matt Corral fights a Mississippi State player at the Egg Bowl on Thanksgiving. Every player on both teams received an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty after a brawl erupted between both teams and several players were ejected. File photo by Christian Johnson

Most Ole Miss fans know Corral as the new quarterback who stepped up in the brawl in the Egg Bowl last year. Corral addressed the issues surrounding that but we can expect that same kind of energy from him again this season.

“It all just happened, we’re just moving past that,” Corral said. “I’m passionate between the white lines and play to the whistle but things got out of hand. A rivalry like that, it’s a showcase in the state of Mississippi. Everyone loves coming to it and that’s what they love about it is the fire both teams bring.”

Ole Miss’s new offensive coordinator Rich Rodriguez has played a major role in helping Corral and the rest of the offense prepare for the season. Rodriguez seems to be a good fit at Ole Miss and the whole offense responds well to Rodriguez’s coaching style. He works his offense around Corral and only does the things Corral is capable of doing, and capable of doing well.

“He’s a perfectionist and won’t stop until it’s done right,” Corral said. “That makes me want to be better.”

Corral had one year under old coordinator Phil Longo, but said things are very different now with Rodriquez compared to last season with Longo. Longo was more quiet and wasn’t bothered by many things where Rodriquez has shown attention to every detail on the field and is bothered by every little thing.

Corral says the Rebels are going to surprise people this season. He wants to make a statement and lead this team to success. and it seems he is the right guy with the right energy to do so.

“You’re a quarterback and you come into a program like this you just have to hold yourself to a higher standard,” Corral said. “I feel like coming to Ole Miss and being in the position that I was in, it didn’t really phase me. I wanted to be like that, I wanted it to be like this and I’m glad it did happen.”