Did Derek Mason Really Throw Shade at Notre Dame?

Not that Notre Dame needed any bulletin board material in order to make short order of perennial SEC cellar dweller and doormat Vanderbilt, but they got it on Thursday.  Vandy head coach Derek Mason of all people provided the Irish with just a little bit extra motivation at SEC Media Day by stating he isn’t worried about his team’s trip to South Bend.

Here’s the video clip.

For a guy who has coached at Stanford and Vanderbilt, you’d think he would be just a tad bit smarter.  The Commodores were 5-7 with a paltry 1-7 record in the SEC a year ago under Mason’s guidance.  That lone victory came in the season finale to a hapless Tennessee team that had already fired their head coach.

Vanderbilt comes to South Bend on September 15th in week three of the regular season.  It will be their first trip to Notre Dame Stadium since 1996 when the Irish blanked the Commodores 41-0 in Lou Holtz’s final season at Notre Dame.

Notre Dame doesn’t need any bulletin board material for a team like Vandy.  The Irish should win this game easily and it would be a major disappointment if the Notre Dame backups weren’t in the game in the fourth quarter to close this one out.  At the same time, it is a interesting tactic for a coach to make such a bold statement when he has not done anything as a head coach to back up the bravado.  And this is coming from someone who covered the entire Charlie Weis era at Notre Dame.

Derek Mason will be entering his 5th season as the head coach at Vanderbilt in 2018 after compiling a record of 18-31 over the last four seasons.  He has guided Vandy to just a single bowl game – that the Commodores lost – and he has yet to record a single season in which his team has won more games than they lost.

Maybe Mason is trying to instill some sort of confidence in his team by puffing out his chest and dismissing a trip to Notre Dame Stadium for his team.  Then again, maybe Mason was just trying to convey that his team was so bad last year that they have so much else to worry about.  Vandy did lose to Alabama 59-0 and 45-14 to Georgia – both at home.

This game looked like it would not have much to offer other than the angle of two schools with high academic standards squaring off against each other so now we at least have this storyline to rehash in the week leading up to the game.  If Notre Dame enters that week 2-0, it will at least be something to talk about.  If the Irish enter that week 1-1, Notre Dame will have much bigger problems to worry about than Mason spouting off and puffing out his chest with some manufactured bravado.

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  1. Throw “Shade”? Aren’t you gangsta. Please refrain from using such terms in the future, have some self respect.

  2. Go back and read the actual comment, along with the question, and the sentences before and after.

    It’s quite clear he’s saying he’s not worrying about ND because MTSU is the first game on the schedule. It’s totally standard coach speak. One game at a time. Live in the moment. No looking ahead.

    Notre Dame is to classy a program, and too literate an alumni body, to gin up fake umbrage by failure of reading skills. This is Tennessee or Ole Miss type stuff. You’re better than this, Notre Dame.

    1. All Coach Mason was saying is that Vandy need not look past MTSU who are the 1st game on schedule and Vandy needs to focus on THAT game, before taking MTSU for granted

  3. Coach Derek Mason is a motivator and a defensive specialist. I question how Alabama beat him 2017 by a huge margin of points.

    1. Maybe the same way they beat us by a huge margin of points in the 2012 BCS Bowl! Today in college football, there is Alabama, and there is everyone else. That’s just the way it has been. Not that Alabama is “unbeatable”…there is no such thing as an “unbeatable” team. But they are the top of the heap, and pretty much separation still exists!

      BGC ’77 ’82

  4. You know, he might have just said what most coaches opposing coaches say…something along the lines of “I’m glad our young men will get a chance to play in that venue during their careers at Vanderbilt”…or something like that, then simply move on to his opener against MTSU or the SEC. Bo used to say something like this…”it’s a big game on our schedule, but we’re in the Big Ten and our number one goal every year is to win the Big Ten and go to the Rose Bowl”. Like I said below, ARA always found something nice to say about something on the other team at the very least. He was never afraid to compliment an opponent. Why should he be?

    BGC ’77 ’82

  5. Meh. Is this comment really worthy of the umbrage?
    Vanderbilt has Georgia and Alabama on the schedule this year. You may recall these two teams played and a pretty game towards the end of last season.
    If Mason had said, “I’m not too worried about last year’s #1 and #2 teams; it’s Notre Dame that haunts my nightmares,” you would rightly have said that was bulletin board sarcasm.

    1. You may remember that Notre Dame was just as good as Georgia last year, just had a tougher schedule than Georgia.

    2. Yes Anthony, as I recall Georgia, then BAMA, played a pretty good game against Auburn near the end of the season (and lost, which is nothing to be ashamed of…Auburn was tough). I further recall that UCF also played pretty good against Auburn…and won, finishing the entire season undefeated.

      BGC ’77 ’82

  6. The Golden Hurricanes were a ways back, a fluke. Kelly was just getting started. Some of my fair weather nephews were calling for his head. If we are to challenge for the Title we must cover a 24+ spread

    1. Yeah. Tulsa was in his first year, after a few dismal seasons by his dismal predecessor. Who of us holds Lou Holtz’s first year against him? Nobody I know. But BK did give us a scare in 2016. To me, it turned out OK. We now have a better group of coaches, and more big time players than we’ve had in awhile, and great future recruits. It is as it should be. So screw Tulsa. By the way, I was at Tulsa with my daughter and my ex-son-in-law. It was embarrassing. Its sting was gone after 2012.

      BGC ’77 ’82

      1. Myself being born and raised on the west coast, my Dad worked in aerospace industry. Massive layoffs occurred during Nixon administration. My Dad looking for work got a interview in Tulsa. Everything was going good until they asked if he would be bringing his family. “ Well, we will get back to you later” after He told them He would be bringing his twelve Irish Catholic kids.

  7. Quality “journalism”. All you did was butcher a quote in the attempt to look offended. And yes, South Bend is not in the same league when it comes to intimidation. This whole piece is disappointing, one big ole’ egg.

  8. You missed the entire point. Which screamed, “Bama, LSU, UGA, Auburn, Texas A&M, Florida, etc. are all more intimidating than Notre Dame stadium”, which is pretty much true. Go find a safe space. Wow, caring what a “bottom dweller” has to say…

  9. How weird to take offense to that particular comment. What should he say? “We play Alabama and Georgia this year, but the game I’m really terrified of is Notre Dame.” In case you aren’t aware, Vanderbilt will play the two teams from last year’s national championship game. Notre Dame has a great historied program and has been quite good lately. But no, Notre Dame should not objectively be the most intimidating game on VU’s schedule.

  10. Hardly “bulletin board material. I agree with Bob, this is drivel worthy of STS, weak attempts to create outrage. No story here just a slow news day with writers desperately trying to grab onto anything they can write about. “Throw Shade”…….LMAO!!!

  11. Vanderbilt is under rated and dangerous! This head coach is fiery, tough and his defense is literally “gold-star”.. Do not become distracted here fore this opponent is a high academic university from a proud state of predominantly English immigrants. In 2017 Alabama routed him and you could tell he lost focus as head coach after this early game. I think he felt he was up to the challenge.

    1. Can’t we go back to home and homes with Tennessee? I love the hospitality in Knoxville…best anywhere I’ve been. I’ve been there twice, in ’79 and in the early 90’s. Loved it.

      BGC ’77 ’82

      1. Speaking of Tennessee, I asked nearby Marines ( just after Vietnam War) the worst duty station to be deployed, Memphis and Egypt was their answer

  12. To get on my blackboard it has to be something very special. I don’t slap it, I read it and work harder. I think Derek is intimidated to bring up our name. He will be happy to leave without a goose egg.

  13. Frank, the whole comment as quoted by 247sports was this: “Yeah. We play in the SEC. I don’t worry about going to South Bend. Right now, I am worried about MTSU. I looked at how we started last year, and the blueprint is there. If you want to be successful, stay in the moment. That’s exactly what we’re doing. We’re staying in the moment. We’re about Notre Dame when that game comes. Right now, it’s about MTSU. It’s about going to camp. It’s about solidifying that depth. It’s about making sure when we harden this team enough that when adversity comes, this team knows how to handle it.” You’ve chosen to take a small sample of the quote and mislead your readers with a textbook example of yellow journalism. Now, I expect this from slapthesign; that’s pretty much all they do. But you and uhnd are better than this. Suppose you get back to writing the quality stuff you’re capable of, maybe with your next article..

  14. You know, ARA always had something nice to say about an upcoming opponent. He would at least praise their safeties…”you know, those two make a lot of tackles”, or something nice like that.

    BGC ’77 ’82

  15. Frank, Notre Dame went through an era where we did not seem to play as tough at home as the many ND teams that have played in that stadium since 1930. It was a short era though, comparatively speaking, and it’s over. Most of Kelly’s 8 teams played tough at home, with a couple of exceptions, one bad year due to too many defensive injuries to a not too deep team, and then 2016 of course. This Kelly team will be playing very tough ball. When you play against ND at ND, it is a tough place to play because of the team itself, not because of the loudness of the crowd, or the rudeness of the crowd, or the colors of the crowd, or the incompetence of the refs, as you might expect in other venues. It has always been the team itself…and this 2018 team will be showing up to play for their fellow students and the other blue, green and gold fans.

    BGC ’77 ’82

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