Mason Ready To 'Anchor Down' At Vanderbilt
By Dan Harralson
Those two words translated into wins during the head-coaching reign of James Franklin the last three seasons.
Franklin took Vanderbilt, and his coaching career, to new heights before leaving after last season to take over a Penn State program that Joe Paterno had built for decades. Franklin is now looking to duplicate the success he had in Nashville at Happy Valley.
Although Franklin has exited, "Anchor Down" still exists, Vandy fans still chant it when they showi their gold colors and Vandy's baseball team just won the school's only national championship in any men's sport. Vanderbilt athletics is still on an upward swing, even after Franklin's departure.
Now, it's up to Commodores new coach Derek Mason to keep the buzz and success alive. He kept the sound bytes alive and well at SEC Media Days on Monday.
"James Franklin established this program," Mason said. "Why have nine (wins) when you can have 10? Why have 10 when you can have 11?"
Mason is already downplaying the fact that Vanderbilt will likely return to the SEC basement, as well he should, but the first-year head coach has expectations that succeed what Franklin was able to accomplish.
“Our time to compete for an SEC East title is now," said Mason.
Mason comes from Stanford, so he knows about defense. During his time at Stanford, he played a big role in switching the Cardinal defense from a 4-3 to a 3-4. Three straight Pac-12 championship were the end result.
The Vanderbilt/Tennessee rivalry was also brought up on Monday since Mason and Vols coach Butch Jones have a history. “(Butch) Jones and I faced each other when I was at Ohio and he was at Central (Michigan). We’re friends.”
The same kindness cannot be said from Vanderbilt safety Andrew Williamson. "Beating Tennessee is just winning another game," said Williamson.
2014 Projected Vanderbilt Schedule Breakdown
Wins: Temple, UMass, Charleston Southern, Old Dominion
Losses: Ole Miss, Georgia, South Carolina, Missouri, Florida, Mississippi State, Tennessee