Vanderbilt coach Derek Mason wasn’t coy about it — his team’s upset of Georgia last Saturday was indeed validation for the Commodores.

“It is validation. You stick to your process and get into routine and be disciplined,” Mason said Wednesday during the SEC coaches teleconference. “We’ve been through a lot, and it’s not an overnight process. It’s been a hard road for many of these young men. But what I’ve seen is they are willing to give everything, and we have to give everything for them.”

The win spoiled the Bulldogs’ Homecoming, went down as Vanderbilt’s first SEC win of the season and gave Mason his first conference road victory since joining the program in 2014. He reflected on that first season in what many consider the toughest league in college football.

“Unless you’ve been a head coach here, the pressure to win and be successful is different than any other conference because of how football is seen here in the South,” Mason said. “It’s a way of life here. Adjusting to the time demands and even getting in-house and having relationships with my team was short.”

But now in Year 3, Mason said he’s “right back to being who I am.”

“If you don’t know who you are, you can get lost in the shuffle,” he said. “You have to stick by what you know and surround yourself (with people) that embody who you are and what you want to do. I’m more comfortable in my own shoes, and I like the guys around me.”