SEC Spring Practice Storylines: Derek Mason Trying to Keep Vandy a Winner

Derek Mason Trying to Keep Vandy a Winner

3/14/14 in NCAAF   |   BlakeLovell   |   86 respect

Dec 27, 2012; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Stanford Cardinal defensive coordinator Derek Mason at press conference for the 2013 Rose Bowl at the L.A. Hotel Downtown. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-USA TODAY SportsVanderbilt football fans want to forget about James Franklin after the former Commodore head coach bolted for Penn State.

But, they won't be forgetting what Franklin was able to accomplish anytime soon.

Vandy experienced unprecedented success during the Franklin era in Nashville, as the program went from being the SEC doormat to being a consistent winner.

After going 6-6 to make a bowl game in 2011, the Commodores followed it up with back-to-back nine-win seasons, another in a long line of firsts under Franklin's leadership.

So, for the first time in many, many years, the phrase "someone has big shoes to fill at Vanderbilt" can be said.

That someone is former Stanford defensive coordinator Derek Mason, who is now faced with the challenge of continuing to keep this program on an upward trend.

Many would try and convince you that it simply isn't possible. How could Vandy, an elite academic institution, take an even bigger leap forward? In order to make that leap, we're talking double-digit win seasons and maybe even conference championship appearances.

SEC title game Vandy? No chance, right?

Well, those same skeptics said the same about Franklin. Yet, the former Maryland assistant had a plan when he took over the job, and he stuck to that plan.

Ultimately, it produced results never before seen for the Commodore football program.

The back-to back nine-win seasons, the three straight bowl games, the wins over Florida, Tennessee, and Georgia in the same season. Few people thought this was possible when he entered what most considered the toughest job in the SEC back in 2011.

And even though Vandy may still be the toughest job in the league, you shouldn't be quick to dismiss Mason's notions that Vandy will win championships.

After all, Mason knows a little something about winning championships at an academics-first school. Mason led the defense for a Stanford program that has won back-to-back Pac-12 titles, and played in consecutive Rose Bowl games.

He has experienced first-hand what it's like to build the foundation of a program and watch it grown into something monumental.

Franklin built the foundation. Now Mason has the opportunity to turn it into something monumental.

Do you think Mason will succeed at Vandy? Let us know by commenting below! For more college football talk, follow FanIQ College Football or myself on Twitter!
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