Vanderbilt Aftermath

For Ole Miss, it’s time to move on from the Vanderbilt win and focus on beating a better team, La.-Lafayette, in the Rebels’ home opener this week.

New Vanderbilt coach Derek Mason would no doubt like to move on too, but that may be harder for him. The defensive coordinator at Stanford last year, Mason is only 0-2, but some Vanderbilt fans with a taste of winning under James Franklin are calling for change.

Here’s one website:

This particular website features a petition to have Mason fired. Presently, only 12 people have signed.

It also offers a poll question asking, “If Vandy loses to UMass, should Derek Mason be fired?”

At this writing there are 147 responses with 96 saying yes, 51 saying no.

Another fire Mason site is on the way as a result of the Rebels’ 41-3 win, according to this story from The Tennesseean.

The best thing Ole Miss did in that game was to come out prepared and focused against a struggling opponent. Although it was the SEC opener you had to treat it in some ways like an FCS foe, and that means focusing on yourself to a large degree. Obviously there should be respect for every opponent, but when the game is in hand you have to focus on your own execution.

The Rebels did that. Bo Wallace made better decisions and played a turnover-free game. The Rebels cut down false starts on the offensive line and basically narrowed those down to one player as a opposed to a handful. They also ran the ball better.

There’s still much to improve on in the run game and with offensive execution in the Red Zone, but it was a much cleaner performance for Ole Miss than in the season opener against Boise State.

It’s good for the Rebels to be 2-0 and to have an SEC win in pocket. They don’t need to read more into the Vanderbilt win than is there, however. They don’t need to develop a sense of having “arrived.”

There was complete domination by Ole Miss in Nashville, but part of that was due to Vanderbilt.

It will be interesting to watch Vanderbilt, the Rebels’ permanent SEC East opponent, over the coming weeks. On paper Mason did not look like a bad hire. He’s certainly gotten off to a slow start.

Much as some fans don’t want to hear it coaches deserve time to fix their problems. For Mason there are many. He has an offense with less talent than former coach James Franklin had, but also his defense — and that’s his side of the ball — isn’t very good. The defensive numbers against Temple weren’t terrible, and that unit was put in a rough spot often with seven turnovers, but the Commodores never stopped Ole Miss.

The Vanderbilt administration will have to answer the question of its support level for Mason if the Commodores do not improve.

Saturday at LP Field that Vanderbilt team looked like one from 10 or 15 years ago rather than ones Hugh Freeze is accustomed to seeing as Ole Miss head coach.

Franklin will be remembered by some as a miracle worker for winning nine games in back-to-back seasons at Vanderbilt. As impressive as that is it should be noted that Florida was sub-.500 last year, and Tennessee has been down the last couple of years.

Timing is always important.



Denham Springs, La., native, Mississippian since 1989 with a stop in Meridian before arriving in Tupelo. Daily Journal beat writer since 1996, covering Ole Miss since 2002. Proud Northeast Louisiana alum. Follow me on Twitter @parrishalford and listen to John Davis and myself daily with The Ole Miss Beat on Rebel Sports Radio.

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