Derek Mason plans to win the SEC East at Vanderbilt

By Tom Fornelli | College Football Writer

Derek Mason plans to do something James Franklin couldn't: win the SEC East
Derek Mason plans to do something James Franklin couldn't: win the SEC East. (USATSI)

James Franklin accomplished things that most other coaches were never able to do at Vanderbilt, and some have wondered whether or not Franklin's replacement, Derek Mason, will be able to maintain what Franklin built in three seasons.

Mason doesn't plan on maintaining Franklin's success, though. He plans on taking it to the next level.

"SEC East title, here we come," said Mason during his introductory press conference at Vanderbilt Saturday. "Make no bones about it. You've got to talk about it to make it happen."

A lofty goal to set from the start to be sure. For all that he accomplished during his three years at Vanderbilt, Franklin's teams never managed to finish higher than fourth in the SEC East. And while Mason believes you've got to talk to make it happen, it will take a lot more than talk to get past the likes of South Carolina, Georgia, Florida and now Missouri on an annual basis.

You can't win anything without a good coaching staff and talented players, which are two other areas Mason addressed on Saturday.

Mason said he "expects to have 90 percent of my (coaching) staff done in the next 48 hours," saying he knows who the coaches are that he's hoping to bring along. He also said he appreciated the efforts of remaining coaches to keep the current recruiting class together. Mason says he has not contacted any of the recruits who have decided to follow James Franklin to Penn State. Whether or not he will contact Franklin's recruits remains to be seen, but Mason did make one thing perfectly clear.

"I'm never going to try to be James Franklin," he said. "I'm Derek Mason. I'm your new head coach."

And given his division title aspirations, it's obvious that Mason isn't trying to be Franklin. He's trying to be better than Franklin.

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