After consecutive nine-win seasons capped by victories in the Music City and Compass Bowls, James Franklin parlayed his success at Vanderbilt into the Penn State job he always wanted, turning the reins in Nashville over to Derek Mason, who promptly flopped his way to a three-win season that included no victories against conference opponents. Despite a relatively easy 2015 schedule, things weren’t looking too good for Mason’s second season either.
All that changed on Tuesday, however, when the Nashville Post published a report on the Commodore coach that remains equal parts startling and encouraging:
“I had a sheet that I had been looking for for the last 18 months,” Mason said. “Lo and behold, about two weeks ago, it popped up. I found it in my library of football books.”
What he found was a detailed list of game situations and what he should do in each of them. According to his timeline, he had it when he accepted the job at Vanderbilt last January (or shortly thereafter). He was without it, though, when the Commodores went 3-9 and failed to win an SEC game for the first time in five years.
He noted that the ‘gameday checklist’ he has produced for this season includes 65 items “and it covers everything I need to know.”