Vanderbilt leaning on defense in tricky SEC-simplest schedule

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Derek Mason has numerous experience abet on his Vanderbilt defense. Higher yet, the coach believes his Commodores are fleet, talented and deep ample to hold an impress within the Southeastern Conference.

The Commodores are going to want that playing a 10-game slate all in opposition to SEC teams.

“We’re nearer now than we’ve ever been to having ample guys who can possess one on one, and that’s what soccer is set,” Mason stated. “It’s a crew game. Everyone has to complete their job, but you want anyone to carry one on one, and I mediate that’s where the recruiting and trend we’ve gotten better, gotten a little bit of deeper.”

Vanderbilt is coming off a disappointing 3-9 season where the Commodores cycled by quarterbacks and failed to recall profit of a trio of high offensive returnees that went onto the NFL. Mason modified every coordinators no longer long after the season ended, hiring a pair of veterans in Ted Roof and Todd Fitch.

The Commodores haven’t misplaced fewer than three video games since Robbie Caldwell’s season as meantime coach in 2010 when they went 2-10. The finest time they managed to carry simplest as soon as in a season used to be 1990 in Watson Brown’s finest season.

Handiest a newest contract extension and large buyout saved Mason’s job safe for one other year. He’ll desire a sturdy instructing efficiency to be certain he’s abet for an eighth season in 2021.

QUARTERBACK CAROUSEL

Mason started three quarterbacks and performed four finest season, and all are long gone. Riley Neal used to be a graduate transfer who threw for 1,585 yards with 9 touchdowns and five interceptions. Deuce Wallace left this system after graduating with a year of eligibility, whereas Mo Hasan (Southern California) and Allan Walters (Mississippi Advise) every transferred.

Fitch has four unique quarterbacks. Freshman Ken Seals and Jeremy Moussa, a transfer from San Bernardino Valley College, worked this spring sooner than the pandemic canceled observe. Junior college transfer Danny Clark and freshman Mike Wright joined the competitors when observe started in August.

“Looking out at these quarterbacks, I love the rhythm, their cadence, their ability to uncover the huddle,” Mason stated. “They just obtained to consistently step on the grass and enhance.”

LONG GONE

Vanderbilt misplaced a trio of key players off that couldn’t overcome the quarterback components. Working abet Ke’Shawn Vaughn used to be a third-round procure of Tampa Bay. Wide receiver Kalija Lipscomb is with Kansas City and tight stop Jared Pinkney signed with Atlanta after every went undrafted.

HEALTHY BACKFIELD

Jamauri Wakefield sufferd a season-ending hurt within the season-opening loss to Georgia. Now he’s wholesome with the senior the stop returning working abet. Keyon Brooks used to be 2nd in dashing as a freshman finest season with 56 carries for 252 yards.

VIRUS UPDATE

Mason’s most effective information came Aug. 26 when linebacker Dimitri Moore, his high returning tackler, modified his suggestions and launched he would play his finest season reasonably than opt out. Moore’s grandfather died of COVID-19 earlier this summer.

“His ability to be a calming pressure is absolutely going to electrify how those guys mess around him,” Mason stated of Moore.

Roof will want Moore for the defense to style off finest season when Vandy ranked 95th nationally in scoring defense, allowing 31.8 capabilities a game. The Commodores additionally were 101st in total defense allowing 436.6 yards a game.

SCHEDULE SCRAMBLE

The SEC’s plot to transfer to a league-simplest slate didn’t abet the Commodores. They misplaced non-convention video games in opposition to Mercer, Colorado Advise and Louisiana Tech at dwelling plus a shuttle to Kansas Advise. Vanderbilt added a discuss with from defending national champ No. 6 LSU and a shuttle to Mississippi Advise.

Half of of Vanderbilt’s schedule capabilities High 25 teams within the preseason Related Press rankings. The Commodores obtained’t receive it easy opening at Texas A&M sooner than opening at dwelling in opposition to LSU adopted by South Carolina. The ending stretch isn’t critically better hosting No. 8 Florida and No. 25 Tennessee sooner than the conventional season finale at No. 4 Georgia.

___

Discover Teresa M. Walker at https://twitter.com/TeresaMWalker

___

More AP college soccer: https://apnews.com/Collegefootball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

Leave a Comment