Derek Mason trusts sophomore Patton Robinette can handle Vanderbilt’s offense on Saturday night against South Carolina.

But he also wants to see what true freshman Wade Freebeck can do after struggling in one quarter of play last time out.

The saga continues in Nashville.

“Patton Robinette is our quarterback … But here is the situation: we have a two-quarterback system,” Mason said on his radio call-in show Monday night according to The Tennessean. “We have two quarterbacks who are capable of doing different things. We said that going into (last week’s UMass) game, and that’s not going to change.

“Teams are going to have to prepare for two quarterbacks. We believe Wade is going to get better and better as he continues to play. … Patton Robinette is our leader, but Wade Freebeck is going to play.”

Why is this happening, again?

After three games, Robinette has clearly shown he is the Commodores’ best option under center at this time, leading Vanderbilt on two touchdown drives during the second quarter of Saturday’s win before directing a three-play, game-winning march late in the game.

Robinette’s game-ready, doesn’t turn it over and knows where to go with the football as the team’s leader in completion percentage (70.4). It seems as if Mason wants a quarterback controversy when in fact, Robinette’s won the job based on results.

[stats team=”vanderbilt-football” year=”2014″ position=”quarterbacks” sort=”completions” num=”5″ ]

Mason raves about Freebeck’s big-time arm, likely the strongest of all four quarterbacks vying for the full-time job, but what the rookie doesn’t provide is an element the Commodores need most — escapability on third down.

Moving the chains is a necessity when the Commodores battle the 13th-ranked Gamecocks, the preseason East favorites who boast an offense averaging 440.3 yards per game. By comparison, Vanderbilt’s offense ranks at the bottom of the SEC in every statistical category and has turned it over nine times — four more than its closest competitor.

LSU transfer Stephen Rivers has lost a fumble and thrown two interceptions, Johnny McCrary’s been picked off twice in three attempts and Freebeck tossed it to the other team on his second collegiate throw against UMass.

The inconsistency’s alarming, but much of that falls on Mason’s shoulders. His team’s 41-3 loss to Ole Miss in Week 2 was the only time he actually stuck with a quarterback for the duration of a game this season.

In that matchup with the Rebels, Rivers wasn’t comfortable from the pocket and the Commodores managed a season-low 167 total yards. His QBR of 3.9 was ironically higher than McCrary and Freebeck’s only appearances.

That’s how bad the quarterback play has been for Vanderbilt this fall.

Robinette’s the obvious top player at the position right now and gives his team the best chance to win. Whether he’ll get a full four quarters to prove his worth under Mason remains to be seen.