Plumlee excelling in trial by fire

Updated: Oct. 10, 2019 at 12:58 AM CDT
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OXFORD, Miss. (WLBT) - The plan was for John Rhys Plumlee never to take a meaningful snap in the 2019 season.

After all, that’s the case for every backup quarterback throughout the annals of organized football. If the backup does see the field, it’s either due to injury or lack of performance. In the case of Ole Miss, it is the former, which is where Plumlee enters the equation. A rib injury to starting Matt Corral back in September has paved the way for Plumlee and the true freshman has made the most of the opportunity, leading the Rebels to a win over Vanderbilt last weekend and picking up SEC Freshman of the Week honors in the process.

Against the Commodores, Plumlee was giving the opposing defense fits, carrying the ball 22 times for 165 yards and a score. It was the second time in his young career that he eclipsed the century mark on the ground, having ran for 109 yards in his first start at Alabama.

But while the rushing numbers look amazing for Plumlee, the hope is that his passing numbers start to catch up. After coming off the bench in place of Corral to complete all seven of his passes against Cal, Plumlee’s completion has plummeted, connecting on just 20 of his 46 passes in his last two starts for a meager total of 240 yards.

Those are numbers that are obviously sticking out to offensive coordinator Rich Rodriguez, but he is sure that the passing attack will come with time for the young freshman.

“It’s all about experience,” Rodriguez said of Plumlee. “He’s still learning the offense, so the completion percentage I don’t If I look at that as much as the decision making and he’s a real smart guy.”

If Plumlee’s passing takes an uptick this week, he will have definitely earned it as the Rebels head north to take on Missouri and its vaunted pass defense. The Tigers currently rank first against the pass, allowing 138.4 yards per game.

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