Mason eyes SEC East title
New Vanderbilt coach Derek Mason made it clear that he immediately wants to win a division title during his introductory press conference Saturday in Nashville, Tenn.
"SEC East title, here we come," Mason said. "Make no bones about it. You've got to talk about it to make it happen."
The former Stanford defensive coordinator was named James Franklin's replacement on Friday. Franklin left Vanderbilt a week ago to take the head coaching job at Penn State.
"I'm never going to try to be James Franklin," Mason said. "I'm Derek Mason. I'm your new head coach."
Mason was hired right after his second interview. The 44-year-old spent four seasons at Stanford, including the past two as co-defensive coordinator and associate head coach under coach David Shaw.
Mason said he already has in mind who he wants to make up his coaching staff. He said he "expects to have 90 percent of my staff done in the next 48 hours."
Vanderbilt, a program on the rise, is 16-4 in its last 20 games. The Commodores finished No. 24 in the final rankings after their second consecutive bowl victory.
Vanderbilt interviewed Indianapolis Colts offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton earlier in the week, but he withdrew his name from consideration. The school also considered Clemson offensive coordinator Chad Morris.
Offensive line coach Herb Hand interviewed for the Vanderbilt job. He may remain a part of the new coaching staff or follow Franklin to Penn State.
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