When he took over for Jeff Franklin, the Vanderbilt program was enjoying unprecedented success. While he couldn’t sustain the nine-win status that Franklin enjoyed in his final two seasons, he did reach bowl games in two of his first five seasons. Then came last year’s 3-9 season, which is in line with what long-time SEC fans are accustomed to from the Commodores.
Mason’s teams are known for being stingy on defense. With 10 starters returning, that unit will certainly be the strength of the team in 2020, but they are coming off a year in which they gave up over 400 yards and 30 points per game. This means that players like linebacker Dimitri Moore, safety Tae Daley and defensive end Dayo Odeyingbo will be hungry to live up to Mason’s standard this season.
Todd Finch is taking over the play calling for the Dores and has an intriguing prospect to work with at quarterback in the 6-foot-3, 205-pound freshman Ken Seals. Unfortunately, he will be breaking him in with a retooled offensive line and a lack of playmakers at receiver, making this a baptism under fire for sure. Much like his predecessors Ralph Webb and Ke’Shawn Vaughn, Kenyon Brooks is yet another solid running back on an undermanned team. Vandy will lean hard on his ability, but if the line doesn’t give him room to run, his production won’t be enough to put the needed points on the board.
Mason will have his team ready to the best of their ability, but the losses on offense shape up for a lot of three and outs, which will wear on even the most elite defenses in the country. If I had to guess, some lucky SEC team will be getting a great defensive coordinator for the 2021 season after things go south in Nashville this season.