— Vanderbilt Football (@VandyFootball) September 13, 2020
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The number of days to kickoff is approaching single digits for the Vanderbilt football team, a team which held an important scrimmage Saturday and got back on the practice field this week.
The Commodores open the 2020 season at No. 13 Texas A&M on Sept. 26 and head coach Derek Mason, impressed by what he saw during Tuesday morning’s practice, likes the direction his team is headed in their endeavors toward that matchup.
“The thing that I’m pleased about, even with a little bit of attrition, I’m starting to see a little bit of retention. And that’s important,” Mason said. “It means that the coordinators are doing a good job with the schemes and making these schemes turn-key. Our guys are making less mistakes and the execution is going up.
“As I’m 10 days out from a ballgame, I feel good about how this thing is trending. It’s getting better because we’re getting more consistent about our schedule.”
— Vanderbilt Football (@VandyFootball) September 12, 2020
Mason admitted that when his team returned to campus earlier this summer there wasn’t a clear-cut definition of how preseason practice would go – or even if there would be a 2020 season. So Vandy has cautiously moved forward to adhere to protocols and safety measures designed to guard against a possible COVID-19 outbreak.
But now that his team has had about 10-12 practices, he said, Mason has started to see the Dores buy in to how to properly approach the season.
“Everything has been about big team, little me. That’s really the spinoff of what I’ve been saying this year,” Mason said. “We’re going to rise as a team. If we hit bumps in the road, we hit bumps in the road as a team. But this group right now, offense, defense and special teams, everyone has bought into where we’re at.
“We’re going to need everybody, everybody has got a role.”
Vanderbilt will continue to practice this week as its preseason winds to a close and as game week nears. Position battles – notably at quarterback – will be further solidified as Mason and his staff work to develop a depth chart going into Week One.
“I tell these guys you’re truly going to play the way you practice,” Mason said. “As we strain in practice, as long as we continue to be focused and accountable to these schemes and really one another, we’re going to be fine.
“We’re going to look to start fast, that’s where our mindset is and I think right now that’s what we can control.”
Chad Bishop covers Vanderbilt for VUCommodores.com. Follow him @MrChadBishop.