Former head coach Matt Luke’s firing puts several factors for Ole Miss football in limbo, but possibly the top question for the current roster involves the most important position on the field.
The 2019 season was defined by quarterbacks Matt Corral and John Rhys Plumlee splitting playing time behind center and Plumlee running his way to the starting position for the last eight games of the season.
The quarterback system wasn’t necessarily a controversy, but with Corral phased out of the system in favor of Plumlee, the offense transformed to a more run-heavy scheme.
Plumlee took the majority of the snaps and carries for the Rebels until Corral was brought in when Ole Miss needed production through the air during the last drives in the Egg Bowl.
Plumlee said the main reason he chose to play for Ole Miss was because of offensive coordinator Rich Rodriguez and his offensive system. The true freshman was highly recruited to play other positions such as tailback or defensive back, but the Hattiesburg native chose to come to Oxford after a promise from Luke and Rodriguez that he would be a quarterback.
That promise went out the window when Luke was fired, making it likely that Rodriguez and his unique scheme will soon follow.
Whoever athletics director Keith Carter chooses to hire as head coach will likely bring his own staff and a scheme that favors Corral, as he has more arm talent for a spread offense. Four-star quarterback recruit Robby Ashford from Hoover, Alabama, will also join the crowded quarterback room next year as another talented arm.
Rodriguez, the offensive coordinator for the Rebels, alluded to his time being over with the Rebels.
“I’ve only been at Ole Miss for 11 months, but I loved my time there. I was excited about our future — all around the program but particularly offensively with all the young true freshmen we were playing. I don’t know what’s going to happen, but I certainly appreciated the opportunity.”
Rodriguez also implied his interest in the head coach job, but his name has not come up as a candidate for the position.
Ole Miss and Rodriguez assured Plumlee of both opportunity and the quarterback designation on the team. With the possibility of Rodriguez’s removal, Plumlee may have lost those assurances.