Dean Legge / Dawg Post

Legge's Thoughts: 2016 Vandy Preview

HOOVER, Ala. – Here's a look at Vanderbilt coach Derek Mason and the Commodores heading into the 2016 season.

Last season: 4-8, (2-8 SEC)

Last game vs. UGA: UGA 31, VU 14 in Nashville

Series Record: UGA leads 55-19-2

Last five meetings vs. UGA: UGA 4, VU 1

Most memorable Georgia win: 1983 – All-American Terry Hoage knocks away a Vanderbilt pass near the end of the game to save the win for the Dawgs. 

Most painful Georgia loss: 1994 – Ray Goff probably lost his job when Vandy ran up the score on the Dawgs in Athens – on Homecoming, no less. Honorable mention 2006 when Vandy shocked Georgia on Homecoming again. 

Legge’s Thoughts: A few days ago, Vanderbilt coach Derek Mason announced that the Commodores were heading in a different direction in terms of their recruiting strategy. Instead of the traditional college football method of throwing tons of resources at dozens of recruits, Vanderbilt will have a recruiting staff of five and will, according to The Tennessean, “follow more of an NFL model of draft evaluation, with staffers dividing up short-term and long-term recruiting targets.”

“This will be an innovative approach that is tailored to help us attract the very best to Vanderbilt We will better focus on all areas of the recruiting process — early evaluation, fit, strong relationships and character — to make sure we maximize all of our 85 scholarships,” Mason said in a press release dated July 8th. 

At least Mason is trying something new. To be clear - whatever Mason has been doing the last two years hasn’t been working. Not much has worked at Vanderbilt through the years. Loudmouth James Franklin’s back-to-back nine-win seasons in 2012 and 2013 made returning to the cellar of the SEC East a difficult thing for Commodore fans to do. But the reality is that they’ve spent much of their football existence there. 

Mason’s program is going to have to show improvement in his third season at Vandy in order to have a long-term future in Nashville, and that seems unlikely. Perhaps the first three games of the season are a litmus test for where Vanderbilt is going this season. Three winnable games - South Carolina, Middle Tennessee and at Georgia Tech - start the season for Vanderbilt. Winning at least two of those games seems to be the key to the season.

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