Mason well liked by players & parents

Derek Mason

"We are going to defend every blade of grass!" That's Peter Skov's favorite quote from Derek Mason, who is Vanderbilt's new head coach. Skov's two sons played for Stanford during the 2013 season. Look inside to find out more about Mason and how he helped one of Skov's sons.

"Part of the reason we had a very good football team was Derek Mason, that guy can coach." said Peter Skov whose sons both played with the Cardinal during the 2013 season. Shayne Skov was a senior linebacker while Patrick Skov played as a fullback during his sophomore campaign.

Stanford's defense, which was coached by Mason, was one of the stingiest units in the country. The Cardinal was one of just three FBS teams that held opponents to an average of less than 100 rushing yards per game (89.7 YPG). Mason had a stop the run first philosophy and it worked. The Cardinal did give up more yards through the air but still finished the season ranked No. 16 in the nation in total defense and allowed only 19 points per game.

One game in particular that sticks out in Skov's mind was the Oregon game, two games actually. You see, Stanford knocked off the high powered Duck not only in 2013 but also in 2012 in Eugene.

"Oregon was killing people, when we beat when they were No. 2 at the time. We held them to 14 points last year; Oregon this year (2013), they had zero points through three quarters."

Skov says that Mason is a coach the players respect and enjoy playing for because of his extensive knowledge of the game and his integrity.

"The kids enjoy him and respect him and why? Because they trust him because he's a guy with lots of integrity and he knows what he's doing."

Skov sees Vanderbilt as being like Stanford. Recruiting wise the move to Vandy should be easy for Mason.

"He's been recruiting with the sales pitch of being able to play top level football, which clearly Vandy is doing in the SEC, and getting an elite branded private education, which you can do at Stanford or Vanderbilt," said Skov. "So the whole sales pitch he's been giving at Stanford that he has to give at Vanderbilt will be absolutely seamless to him because he's been giving that exact sales pitch for the last three years at Stanford."

Skov recounted a tough time during his son Shayne's playing career. Shayne, who like many players has NFL aspirations, had seriously injured a knee and it looked like his playing career could be cut short. Shayne and his father met with Mason to discuss his future. Mason, who had himself recovered from a devastating knee injury, encouraged Shayne to not give up and promised to be assist him throughout his rehabilitation.

"He believed in Shayne and supported Shayne," said Skov. "Coach Mason was by his side and supporting him the whole way back in his recovery."

Shayne is now projected as a second to fourth round pick in the upcoming NFL Draft.

While Skov hates to see Mason go, he is happy to see the coach progress to a head coaching position.

"I don't want to lose him but he's got a family, he's worked hard, he's earned this opportunity," said Skov. "He's just a phenomenal coach."

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