Vanderbilt’s latest challenge this season comes in the form of Ole Miss’ high-flying offense. As a defensive-minded head coach, Derek Mason understands the difficult task ahead for Vanderbilt when it hosts the Rebels this week.

The Rebels are fourth in the SEC in scoring at 34.8 points per game.

“It’s hard to simulate but that’s where you put emphasis,” Mason said. “That started on Sunday, that’s been a focus of ours. We understand they are going to come at us fast, trying to give us fits… for us, that’s a great defensive challenge.”

Although Vanderbilt has been hit hard by the COVID-19 virus and accompanying quarantine and contact tracing, Mason said the Commodores have turned a corner. He reported on the SEC coaches media teleconference that Vanderbilt is, “as healthy as we’ve been since Texas A&M. Right after that game, we had injuries and got hit across the board with COVID-related items that slowed us.”

Mason also explained what Vanderbilt must do to get in the win column.

“Everyone must be accountable for what we put out there on the field… we start with playing one quarter at a time, leading in the fourth quarter, we have to do the little things,” he said.