Derek Mason updates QB situation, other changes ahead of Kentucky
The Vanderbilt quarterback position has seen multiple injuries this season, particularly related to concussions. But coach Derek Mason said Riley Neal would return this week for the home game against Kentucky.
Mason said at his regular weekly press conference that Neal’s return gives the offense a chance to “push the ball down the field.” However, Mo Hassan, who has been out since the Missouri game on Oct. 19 is still doubtful to return this week. He was the third quarterback to play for the Commodores this season.
Mason said Vanderbilt would make schematic changes following the 56-0 loss last week to Florida. He said the coaching staff is looking at ways to “maximize the roster” and would start with what the players do best, then move to scheme.
Neal last saw action in the first quarter against South Carolina two weeks ago, but didn’t play from the second quarter on.
“Having a quarterback who can operate in the way you want to operate in terms of being able to push it down the field and give yourselves an opportunity to spread it out and run as well as play-action, get the protection, that’s important,” Mason said. “…“I’ve been asking him for a while just to push himself. In this conference you have to prepare differently.”
Mason was asked about Tennessee having success throwing the ball downfield against Kentucky, and if Vanderbilt could do the same.
“It helps definitely getting Riley back,” he said. “I think Riley gives us a chance. I think his accuracy and his ability to understand coverage-wise, because of so many reps and how he’s played, what he’s done and being in those situations, I think he’s more comfortable.”