Five Mistakes Derek Mason Made

We like to look at things in a positive light here at VandyMania. Unfortunately there are some occasions where that is not all that easy to do. After a game which Clay Travis of Fox Sports claimed was “one of the worst five coaching debuts of all time” it is important to look back and see what Derek Mason could have, and should have, done differently.

Look at this less as a post mortem of what went wrong and more of a look forward as to how Mason should change his approach for the upcoming schedule.

1) The quarterback situation

Obviously this is the aspect of the game which has been given the most scrutiny and rightly so. After a three headed battle in camp Mason decided Patton Robinette was the man for the job and the guy Vandy were going to run with. Robinette was given just over a quarter of the game to apparently play himself out of that starting roll, leaving with a 66 percent completion percentage and with the score tied at 7-0.

Obviously Robinette wasn’t making anyone think he was the second coming of Johnny Football, but he did not play badly enough to be benched. What followed was a rotating circus of quarterbacks who had to be terrified that one mistake, or even one tipped pass for an interception, would get them hooked back to the bench. Ironically Stephen Rivers came in and probably outplayed Robinette, but for the rest of the season Mason just has to pick a guy and stick with him through thick and thin. This will not work any other way.

2) Projecting an air of confusion

The half time interview when running off the field was one of the scariest things a Vanderbilt fan has ever had to witness. Mason looked shocked, confused, and completely out of his depth. He kind of stumbled through the question about what he was thinking at quarterback and gave exactly zero people watching on TV any confidence that the ‘Dores were going to turn the game around.

This is an easy fix though. All Mason has to do is work on projecting an air of confidence, perhaps anticipating the questions better, to come up with a more solid answer. People want to believe in and follow the head coach, he just has to make sure he gives us a reason.

3) Abandoning the run early

Ralph Webb was just about the lone bright spot on the day for Vandy. His 14 carries for 70 yards may not sound like much, but given everything else going on around him Webb stood out. Thus it made little sense that Vandy pretty much abandoned the run, choosing to rely on their unproven and highly flustered quarterbacks, from the end of the second quarter onward. The ‘Dores have something in Webb. The offense for the next few weeks needs to be built around his powerful running style with the quarterback acting as a game manager.

4) Not coming out hard after the rain delays

I personally have no idea what it takes to keep a team motivated and up in a situation like the one which took place on Thursday night/Friday morning. In many ways the SEC and the television networks should feel ashamed about the way they handled the weather, causing the college football season in Nashville to enter with a whimper instead of a bang. With all that being said though the ‘Dores still came out completely flat in a situation where they needed to be white hot and take the game over. Despite the circumstances surrounding the fiasco the fact that didn’t happen has to fall on Mason.

5) The quarterback situation

Yes. It was so bad it gets mentioned twice. It is going to be a huge week for Mason as he tries to rebuild his guys and put a game plan together for Ole Miss game.

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