Vanderbilt Football: Derek Mason Could Lead Commodores to Even Bigger Heights

Derek Mason Could Lead Vandy to Even Bigger Heights

1/20/14 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 SportsMany wondered what would happen to the Vanderbilt Commodores following James Franklin's departure to Penn State a week ago.

While it it still early and the fate of Commodore football in 2014 has yet to be determined, the school has taken a huge step toward ensuring that the success that Franklin built during his tenure in Nashville will continue.

For a team that was coming off of unprecedented success and back-to-back nine win seasons for the first time in school history (to go along with three straight bowl games), the program needed a proven winner.

It needed someone like Derek Mason.

The former Stanford defensive coordinator was officially announced as the new head coach on Saturday, a week after Franklin's official exit from the program.

This wasn't just another hire for Vanderbilt -- it was a hire that could once again lead the Commodores to new heights in football.

I know what you're thinking: 'There's no way Vandy can do better than nine-win seasons and three straight bowl games!' And, you may be right.

But here's the thing: No one thought Franklin could lead the Commodores from being the SEC doormat and winning two or three games a season to two near double-digit win seasons. He did, though.

So, it should come as no surprise that Mason thinks Vandy can do even more. In fact, he even said it in the press conference on Saturday:
"SEC East title, here we come. You've got to talk about it to make it happen."
He's exactly right. Franklin talked about changing the culture and building a brand. The Commodores did just that even though no one thought it was possible.

Now, with Mason at the helm, whose to say that this program couldn't in fact find itself in the SEC championship game a year or two from now? 

It's no longer possible to look at the Commodores the way that we did five years or so ago. This team has been a consistent winner for several years now. And despite the head coaching change, that trend will likely continue.

Give Franklin credit for turning the program around and giving it the type of national exposure it needed. Had he not, a coach like Mason would have never entertained this position.

But now, it's Mason's turn to see if he can do the unthinkable. History seems to suggest that he can, and will.

What are your thoughts on Derek Mason as the new head coach at Vanderbilt? Let us know by commenting below! For more college football talk, follow @FanIQ or myself on Twitter!
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