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Vanderbilt Introducing Derek Mason As New Football Coach

Derek MasonThe 28th head football coach at Vanderbilt is Derek Mason.  The former Stanford defensive coordinator is meeting with the media this morning in Nashville.  Mason replaces James Franklin who left the Commodores to take the job at Penn State. Shortly before being offered the job on Friday, here’s how Mason described the position at Vanderbilt.


“Who’s not going to say yes (to the Vandy job)? I think it’s a great opportunity to be in a place that does it right. James Franklin did a wonderful job of putting this program on the map. He made it relevant. That debt of gratitude is definitely owed to him.

“It is a program steeped in the right temperament, the right acumen for success. It plays in one of the best football conferences in the country, the SEC, and I think when you put those two together between the academics and the football acumen, I think it can be a winning combination.”


Reaction to the news:

David Climer: “The fact that Mason even returned Vanderbilt’s call is an indication of how much better a job this is now than it was three years ago when Franklin was hired.”

Chris Low: “What Mason has going for him is that he knows what kind of students are going to make it at Vanderbilt.”

West Coast reaction: “Stanford suffered its most significant loss of the offseason Friday…” 

“The Commodores could not have made a better hire from a recruiting standpoint than the one they did…”

Jeremy Fowler: “This has been a landmark offseason for African-American coaches…”

Don’t confuse Derek Mason with Derrick Mason – the former Tennessee Titans wide receiver. “It’s already started.”

News conference scheduled for 10:00 a.m. Central time.  Watch a live stream here.

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Ex-Auburn Coach Rocker Doesn’t Regret Pro Move

In the aftermath of January’s BCS Championship Game, only one national champion assistant decided to pick up and leave Auburn.  That man happened to be an Auburn grad.

But new Tennessee Titans defensive line coach Tracy Rocker isn’t looking back on his decision with regret.

“After coaching 17 years of college ball I have aspirations as a coach, and it’s not just to sit there at my alma mater and just be there,” Rocker told The Tennessean.  “At Auburn, I’d already had success as a player and then to come in an win the SEC and national championship in my second year, and to have (Nick Fairley) win the Lombardi Award… my wife kind of asked me, ‘What else do you think you need to do at Auburn?’ and I aid, ‘I don’t know’

“All of a sudden, this thing happens with the Titans, so I guess that was the new calling.  For me, it’s definitely a dream come true.”

Rocker also made it clear that he won’t spend much time missing recruiting.

“You stay out on the road a lot, and then when you’re in meetings, if a kid calls, you’ve got to take the call.  You can’t say, ‘We’ll get you some other time.”

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D-Line Coach Hurtt Chooses The ‘Ville Over The Plains

Louisville defensive line coach Clint Hurtt — ESPN’s National Recruiter of the Year this year — will be staying at Louisville and not joining Auburn’s coaching staff.

“Big news!! The big hurtt is staying with the cardinals,” tweeted U of L coach Charlie Strong today.  Hurtt took part in a much-publicized interview session with Auburn yesterday.

Auburn is looking for a replacement for former D-line coach Tracy Rocker who left AU for a job with the Tennessee Titans.  Former Minnesota assistant Tim Cross is expected to meet with Gene Chizik in the near future, if he hasn’t already.

When Rocker left, we suggested that finding a replacement might be a tad tougher than expected due to the NCAA’s ongoing look-see into the Tiger program.  Now maybe Hurtt and Chizik didn’t hit it off or maybe an offer was never made or maybe we’re just adding 2 + 2 and coming up with five… but one does have to wonder why a coach at Louisville would turn down the opportunity (if it was offered) to move to Auburn, the home of the defending national champs.  Doesn’t one?

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SEC Headlines – 2/17/11 Part Two

1.  The attack on Toomer’s Corner couldn’t inspire Auburn’s basketball team which was blasted 90-59 at Ole Miss last night.

2.  Former Auburn defensive line coach Tracy Rocker didn’t know the Tennessee Titans were watching him.

3.  Gene Chizik is now in search of a new assistant.

4.  Anthony Grant says Alabama’s rematch with LSU tonight won’t be as easy as the Tide’s 70-46 win last month.

5.  The University of Alabama has added no extra security to landmarks on the Tuscaloosa campus following the attack on Auburn’s famous oak trees.

6.  Arkansas recorded a much-needed easy win against Florida A&M last night…

7.  The Hogs’ stretch run is set as they battle for a first-round bye in the SEC Tournament.

8.  Some Razorback players say John Pelphrey has cranked up his energy a little bit more in recent weeks.

9.  LSU’s Matt Derenbecker says “the goal is to ruin someone else’s season.”  The Tigers host Bama tonight.

10.  LSU needs to “rebound better and not turn the ball over” to snap an eight-game losing streak.

11.  Mississippi’s 31-point win over Auburn was a “feel-good game” for the Rebels.

12.  Terrance Henry and Reggie Buckner came up big down low.

13.  This writer says he was wrong to suggest Renardo Sidney takes himself out of games whenever he likes… but he still thinks Sidney has avoided accountability for much of his life.

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