Inside Commodore Football

This is the second season for RTI Journey, a series written by head coach Derek Mason

This is the second season for RTI Journey, a series written by head coach Derek Mason.

New Opportunities and Expectations

New seasons bring about new opportunities and expectations. The 2019 Commodore football season is about to kick off and your Dores have placed a premium on both of these areas in order to upgrade our program.

It’s been said that the way you end one chapter is the way you start the next. With 573 total yards and 38 points, your Commodores fell short of a victory vs. Baylor in the 2018 Texas Bowl, but we learned some things about ourselves:

1 – The Big Three are for real.
2 – Justin Skule, Joejuan Williams, Khari Blasingame, and Kyle Shurmur would be taking their talents to the NFL.
3 – We were going to need to find better defensive depth and upgrade our ability to stop the run, be dynamic in situational football and be consistently good on special teams.

Eight months have passed and everything we learned coming out of last season has been addressed. There is no magic pill, seminar or book to get you from where you are to where you want to be … it takes work! And the FOCUS of that work had to be on US. Recruiting better student-athletes, upgrading staff, nutrition, training habits and purpose were all part of the process. We left no stone unturned and placed all we had done under intense scrutiny. The prevailing thought has always been “When we succeed it’s WE, when we struggle it’s ME!”

That’s the way a Vanderbilt Man is built. He is built to look inward and FOCUS on himself. He is not common — he will take the time to look at the man in the mirror and in that moment, hold himself accountable for what needs to change. He will be where his feet are and not put off until tomorrow what he can most assuredly do today. He understands that he only has four to five years to build out his skillset in one of the most prestigious academic institutions in the country in the strongest college football conference in America. When he came on board as a Commodore, he knew what sacrifices would be required. He is no longer cloaked in the anonymity of being a normal student. His thoughts, quotes, beliefs and personal life are now valued by social media observers as social currency. The journey he is making requires him to be aware of what he does, how he does it and whom he chooses to associate with. In essence, his RTI journey requires him to have an understanding that everything he does matters.

In the soundtrack of their lives, Vanderbilt Men constantly hear facts that fuel their success:

  • Your body is your job.
  • Every day is a job interview.
  • The only thing you’re running out of is time.

It’s all by design over here in McGugin because from sunrise to sunset, it’s all about winning the day … and that’s what matters. That’s what’s important. That’s what we consistently FOCUS on … US! We look forward to the challenges a new season brings, but we will not let the external noise distract us from the work that must be done.

Welcome back to the grind.

Derek Mason