Wade Freebeck Gets A Start - A New One

Getting a start – this is not simply a declaration of fact for Vanderbilt quarterback Wade Freebeck. Sure, he’s getting a start this Saturday against Charleston Southern. However, the bigger hope is that Freeback is getting a different kind of start… a start on a new outlook and a new chapter in his VU career.


It would not be fair to Wade Freebeck to hold him responsible for the way Vanderbilt’s season has begun. New head coach, no Jordan Matthews, no immediate expectation of even playing, let alone starting, when this season began on Aug. 28 against Temple. Expecting the world – or any remote resemblance of high-quality consistency – was (and is) just not reasonable. A young and unpolished player was thrust into an immensely difficult and complicated situation. It’s not what Vanderbilt and head coach Derek Mason intended in the first six weeks of this 2014 season, but it’s what happened, and now the Commodores have to deal with the hand they’ve been dealt.

The healthiest way to look at Vanderbilt’s season is to regard this Saturday’s game against Charleston Southern as a chance for Freebeck not only to start… but to start over. He was plunged into the fires of cutthroat SEC competition. Now, he gets an FCS opponent and a situation in which he’s actually likely to succeed. The flow of action should slow down. Reads should become easier to process. The building blocks of a football IQ which has always existed – but which has needed to catch up to the speed of SEC competition – can now be set in place. Freebeck can use this weekend as the true starting point in his collegiate career, even though it’s not officially his origination point. This is how Vanderbilt remakes its identity. This is how the Commodores begin the long climb that, while sure to not lead to a bowl game in 2014, can lead this program to a much better place when spring ball occurs in 2015 and gives way to the offseason, followed by the summer.

Yes, it’s a bit depressing to think about 2015 before the second weekend of October hits the calendar, but this game is in many ways a springboard not just for the following weeks, but the following years. The redshirt has been removed from Freebeck’s back, a reality that was lamented by many in the Vanderbilt fan base when Derek Mason made the decision. Now that this is the world VU football inhabits, though, it’s time to build Freebeck’s sense of confidence. That’s what this coming Saturday has to achieve more than anything else.

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