The last time Vanderbilt traveled to Athens, Derek Mason engineered a stunning upset.
The Commodores will be trying to pull off an even bigger one this week.
Vanderbilt visits No. 2 Georgia at 7:30 p.m. ET on Saturday looking for another signature win under Mason, who led his squad to a 17-16 win in the 2016 edition of this SEC East rivalry. The Commodores (3-2, 0-1 SEC) nearly pulled off an even bigger upset on the road last month when they took No. 6 Notre Dame into the final minutes before falling 22-17.
Mason previewed his team’s matchup against the Bulldogs (5-0, 3-0) during his portion of Wednesday’s SEC Coaches Teleconference. He’s what he had to say:
On Georgia’s defense and their ability to limit big plays:
- Having success on first and second down, what Georgia does is … they have two strong defensive minds in (coach) Kirby (Smart) and (defensive coordinator) Mel (Tucker). … They have speed, they get four-man pressures, they do a great job of (getting) the pass rush. … This group is well coached, they understand the opponent and they are going to tackle
How important will it be to take shots downfield?
- We have to be who we are; we can’t not take shots. … We have guys, we have weapons. … (It) doesn’t mean we will go shotgun all day; we have to establish the run … and stay out of third and long.
What teaching moments do you take from 2016 win?
- I really don’t. There are several of those guys that are here, we want to compete on the road, it starts there. That was that team, different from this team. We were coming off a loss to Kentucky. … I didn’t know at that point how committed we were, but those same lessons apply. We can only take certain intangibles from that game.
How is Georgia such a “well-oiled machine?”
- They don’t beat themselves, they make big plays, they are capable of breaking a big one on every play. … The defense doesn’t have the resume right now but they have guys.
On Georgia’s QBs, both Fromm and Fields:
- They are both good quarterbacks. Fromm is accurate, knows that offense, running it in his second year, mastering what (offensive coordinator Jim) Chaney wants. … Fields, very talented, you are starting to see his athleticism show off. They are playing to his strengths — athleticism and arm strength. … Fromm continues to get better each week.
How do you prep for this team vs. prepping for Notre Dame?
- They are two different teams. … I think Georgia is more proven since Kirby got there. I think Notre Dame is good, ranked highly, but I thought going into that one we had a chance to make some noise. … Georgia is bigger and more physica,l and they have two quarterbacks playing at a high level.