Future DCC: Derek Mason

Submitted by alum96 on December 4th, 2015 at 4:49 PM

Derek Mason is the current Vanderbilt coach just wrapping up yr 2, making $2.25M, he is 45 yrs young and unless a miracle happens looks destined to be fired at this time next year because... it's Vanderbilt fergodsakes.  7-17 thus far.

  1. Derek Mason was the DB coach @ Stanford for Jim in 2010, after a stint at the same job with the Vikings for 3 years.
  2. Jim and Fangio left for San Fran, Shaw was elevated in 2011, Mason became co-D coordinator with one Jason Tarver with good results.    Tarver moved on to the Oakland raiders the next year.  Mason remained.
  3. Mason led Stanford's D two years in a row (2012-2013) as solo coordinator.  With incredible results.
  4. Vandy came calling after they lost Franklin, and Mason arrived.  He installed a DC who did crappy things in 2014.  Mason fired him after 1 year and took over the job himself, vaulting Vandy into a near elite outfit in year 2.

If we do a stop gap solution this year at DC, I want Derek Mason as our DC in 2017.    If it weren't for the salary, I'd say go get him immediately.


[Defense rank using FEI]

Stanford dFEI    
2011 13 co-DC with Tarver  
2012 3 solo DC  
2013 1 solo DC  
Vandy 85 scrub DC  
  11 Mason takes over DC  




December 4th, 2015 at 5:01 PM ^

I could live with Mattison for 1 year ONLY if we knew we would get Mason in 2017.  Obviously we dont know that. 

Or if you want to sell a co-DC with Jackson and Mattison for 1 year with understanding its to help Jackson's career out long term.

Again I am in a make believe world as I dont know when Mason gets fired but its going to be next year or year after IMO.   It's generally a graveyard job for coaches, Franklin as an exception.

Or in a real cool world Pruitt (woo hoo) comes for 1 year before he heads to his own HC gig post 2016, and Mason rolls in, in 2017 for an extended stay of 3-5 yrs.


December 4th, 2015 at 5:09 PM ^

Alum96 - you've put a lot of time into looking at different candidates at this point. Can you share with us, say three of your dream candidates as well as the three that just hit you as the most likely bets for whatever reason?


December 4th, 2015 at 5:31 PM ^



  • Fangio (but an NFL guy all years of his life but 1 and employed by an NFL team)
  • Austin (but headed to a NFL HC gig or NFL DC job at worst)
  • Pruitt (but doesn't own a winter jacket and doesn't know the world exists north of Kentucky)
  • Mason (needs to get fired immediately)
  • Chris Ash (but currently OSU DC, has lifted that D up big time in 2 years vs Fickell)

Somewhat dream

  • Shoop (excellent Ds at Vandy and PSU but can't stop OSU's spread either)

Guys quite good

  • Pete Kwiatkowski (as long as he doesn't face Vernon Adams)
  • Aranda (as long as he doesn't face OSU in a championship game - would like to see him with a ton of 4* athletes unlike what he has at Wisconsin)
  • Todd Orlando (4 out of 10 years with top 20 FEI D but at non P5s only so the masses would whine)
  • Barry Odom (need to ask him to quit his dream job he just landed yesterday)


I'm not high on Shafer as many here - if he was near elite 'Cuse would have at least a top 30 D more often than not (FEI D at Cuse in is 3 yrs is 89, 77, 86 - abysmal). 

GMatt seems like a high floor/low ceiling guy in my world -  would return us to good not great D IMO. 

Jackson is a big stretch as he has no track record. 

Andersen's 1 year as solo DC was not good but maybe he lost a lot of talent and had a young D at Stanford.

look up see blue

December 4th, 2015 at 6:53 PM ^

Pruitt (but doesn't own a winter jacket and doesn't know the world exists north of Kentucky)

Pruitt is a great recruiter, but there's something about him that scares me. I've read things from SEC fans that say recruits love him but coaches have a hard time getting along with him. He burned bridges at FSU with Jimbo Fisher and the same thing happened with Richt at Georgia.

Mr Miggle

December 4th, 2015 at 8:30 PM ^

but we do have the right guy to keep him in check. I'd love to watch that job interview. On the plus side, he'd be a high profile DC and a home run in recruiting. On the minus side, we'd be looking for his replacement soon. What's better, more stabilty or more talent? I guess ir depends on ypur other options. 


December 4th, 2015 at 6:11 PM ^

If Pruitt and Mason are a no-go, who would be the next guy that you like, would take the job, and would replace that recruiting hole in the south left by Durkin?


December 4th, 2015 at 8:11 PM ^

Here are any defenses in "SEC" country that finished top 35 the last 3 years in FEI.

You wont be snagging a guy from the blue bloods so that leaves you with Missouri types or non P5.

  • Missouri I had Barry Odom pegged who was the 2015 DC.  The 14/13 guy took a HC gig.
  • LA Tech has a new guy in 15 after Manny Diaz went to Miss State to be DC/LB.  Diaz was also famously at Texas when Mack Brown dismissed him as DC.
  • Vandy I discussed in OP.   Not a southern guy per se as he was born out west and got coaching chops out west.
  • A&M in 15 is Chavis.
  • Houston is Todd Orlando which I have in my group of candidates but he has been in the "South" 1 whole year only.

After that you are talking a couple tiers down in terms of conf with the GA Southerns of the world.  

I was thinking who Miss State's DC was since he did a good job in 13/14 before Diaz took over in 15 and I see he is (drumroll) the guy behind Florida's top defense in 15.  So not an option.

So with Odom off the board it's difficult to find a southern boy - you probably just find the best DC you can then need a guy in your coaching ranks who is not the DC to be southern oriented.

Oklahoma Ole Miss OKState
Bama Clemson FSU
Clemson Florida Bama
Florida LA Tech Missouri
Vandy Texas Auburn
Georgia Bama South Car
Texas A&M Arkansas TCU
Missouri LSU Oklahoma
FSU Missouri Clemson
LA Tech Miss State Florida
Houston FIU Louisville
Ole Miss   Ole Miss
Ark St   Miss State
USF   Houston
GA South   Texas



December 4th, 2015 at 7:48 PM ^

Also one would think Greg is eventually going to hang it up.  Supposedly he was going to pack it in post Hoke but since we were paying him anyhow and he is a good position coach in theory he will stick around until his granddaughter graduates.  He is 66 yrs old, I would assume we get 2 yrs more max out of him.

Hair Raid Offense

December 5th, 2015 at 11:39 AM ^

Pruitt may be a great recruiter, but if everyone know he's a "1 year stop-gap" would the recruits really come? Some might, but others won't because they know their DC isn't going to be around long. I think Michigan should (and will) hire a DC who's in it for the long term. Trying to project who will be a DC candidate in 2017 is just silly. Just hire the best guy for the job.