Derek Mason is shaking things up.
Instead of serving as his own defensive coordinator, the Commodores coach is surrendering that duty to Jason Tarver. The new defensive coordinator will join Vanderbilt’s staff after having spent 3 years as a defensive assistant with the San Francisco 49ers.
“Jason is as smart a football coach as I’ve had the chance to be around. We had a chance to work together at Stanford and had the chance to partner up and put together some pretty good defenses,” Mason said in a statement. “He makes complex football seem real easy. At this level you have to get it to the [student-athletes] fast, quick and have them believe it. His presence from the NFL will translate to where we’re at here at Vanderbilt.
“He’s extremely bright. He’s charismatic. His energy is going to be infectious for this group.”
Tarver was one of 4 new staff members that Vanderbilt announced on Thursday. The Commodores also added special teams coordinator Shawn Mennenga, wide receivers coach Aaron Moorehead and cornerbacks coach Terrence Brown.
Moorehead will replace receivers coach Cortez Hankton, who was poached by Kirby Smart to join Georgia’s staff on National Signing Day. Moorehead spent the last 3 years as the receivers coach at Texas A&M.
Mennenga will join the staff after spending his last 7 sevens as a special teams assistant with the Cleveland Browns.
Brown got his first on-field role following 3 seasons as a graduate assistant for Chris Petersen’s staff at Washington. In addition to helping coach one of the top cornerback units at Washington, Brown played on Mason’s defense at Stanford.
Vanderbilt will kick off spring ball on Feb. 26.