Derek Mason candidly opens up about the challenges of the Vanderbilt job
Vanderbilt’s quarterback situation is down to Deuce Wallace and Allan Walters since Riley Neal and Mo Hassan are in concussion protocol.
Coach Derek Mason explained what it’s like to prepare the two quarterbacks to play this week at Florida.
“I’m pretty sure who is playing quarterback but it’s about getting him reps and getting him comfortable. I’m pretty solid on that,” Mason said on the SEC media teleconference.
About the disappointing performance this season, Mason said, “I understood where we would be, I thought the offense would carry us but not having the quarterback play I thought we would have has been disappointing… our defense picked it up against Missouri, against South Carolina they played hard but just need some help.”
Mason, who is in a unique position in the SEC in terms of the type of academic school he coaches, explained the challenges of the job.
“The consistency of how this place has been resourced over time… the growth, it’s not an arms race but you have to be competitive,” he said. “I think it’s about having the right plan, the right leadership, now is the time. We have been far behind everyone else but we are taking those steps at Vanderbilt, the time is right. You’ve seen Duke, Wake (Forest), … Vanderbilt may have been the last to do it but we will benefit from it.”
He deflected a question about him being in a position to oversee an upgrade.
“I don’t worry about that, I really don’t,” he said. “I’ve coached 27 years, I coach one year at a time. Those things take care of themselves.”
This week at Florida, Mason said playing at noon is an advantage.
“I do, we practice in the morning, we just got off the field,” he said. “Traveling to the Eastern Time Zone, playing that game at noon, which is fine for us. We are up and moving, it will be good. We don’t practice late so I expect them to come out and play well.”
Mason was also asked about the last time his team played Florida after the Gators played Georgia.
“I just remember our kids playing hard, that group was trying to figure out some things… I do remember it being complementary football, (Ralph) Webb had a really good day, coming back home to Gainesville,” he said. “They took a huge step in that day and time and it set us up for learning to play on the road.”