Vanderbilt officials announced on Wednesday that two members of the Commodore football staff would not be retained. Offensive coordinator Karl Dorrell, wide receivers coach Marc Lubick and strength coach Bill Hughan will all not be returning for 2015.
This is the best thing for the program right now. All you need to do it take a glance at the 2014 game scores to know that changes were needed. In 2013 Vandy averaged 30.1 points per game. However, that average dropped to just 17.2 this season. Keep in mind that that was with the bulk of the offensive line, a returning veteran quarterback who was a key in wins over Florida, Tennessee and Georgia, and the top rush returner rusher all back.
Imagine if the team had scored 13 more points in each game. Hmm- that would mean wins over Kentucky, Tennessee and Missouri- and another bowl bid. However, the offense floundered with the West Coast offense that it didn't have the personnel to run. Vandy failed to score touchdowns against Temple, Ole Miss and Mississippi State.
It was widely discussed that Dorrell and Mason were friends or at least their wives where friends. You've got to admire Mason's strength in doing what he had to do to support the program. I'm sure it wasn't easy. We've seen head coaches in a past be stubborn about making staff changes and it cost the program success. However, Mason must have put the needs of his team before his personal interests.
I'll tell you, I never gave up on Mason but I pretty much gave up on Dorrell in week 2. Mason still has a shot at becoming a great head coach for Vanderbilt. I know Vanderbilt fans were hoping for/expecting another instant success head coach like James Franklin but if the program hadn't had one of those in 60 years, why would we think that we'd get two of those back-to-back?
I will say this about Mason; he took a special emphasis in the defense the week of the Tennessee game. I hope we will take a special emphasis in the defense in every game in 2015. I guarantee you Guz Malzahn takes a special interest in the Auburn offense every week. He's using knowledge that it took him years to acquire in an effort to help his team be successful. Mason should do the same for the Vandy defense.
Who will Vandy hire as offensive coordinator? Your guess is as good as mine. I'm hoping that they'll hire a fire in the belly young coach that has been a successful coordinator or at least worked under a very successful BCS offensive coordinator.. and a coach that can recruit. He'll likely bring along his choice of a wide receiver's coach.
I wish Coaches Dorrell, Lubick, and Hughan all the best. I bet they'll all bounce back and do great things in the future. It just didn't work out for them at Vandy.
Thanks again to Coach Mason for making the needed changes. Oh, one last request for Mason: Please, no more West Coast offense!
Derek Mason makes the right move
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