Vanderbilt head coach Derek Mason will not add a defensive coordinator to his staff in 2015. Instead, the former Stanford defensive coordinator will take on the responsibility himself. He will, however, have someone else run the offense. That will be former Wisconsin assistant Andy Ludwig.
Mason was known for his defensive coaching while at Stanford, working under David Shaw. Mason ascended to the role of co-defensive coordinator in 2011 after coaching the defensive backs for the Cardinal in 2010. He then was handed the role of defensive coordinator by Stanford for two seasons under Shaw. He did not have much left to work with when he took over as head coach at Vanderbilt, and the ceiling is still relatively low for the Commodores in 2015, but Mason was clearly not happy with the performance of his team in 2014 and now he is taking on more responsibility for whatever happens on the field in 2015.
Ludwig joins the Vanderbilt staff after two seasons in Madison under Gary Andersen‘s staff. Andersen left for Oregon State, which opened the door for a return for Wisconsin man Paul Chryst. Ludwig has plenty of offensive coordinator experience, having filled the role of offensive coordinator at a number of stops in his coaching career. Prior to his two seasons at Wisconsin, Ludwig was in charge of the offense at San Diego State, California, Utah, Oregon, Fresno State and Cal Poly. At Vanderbilt, Ludwig will also take control of the quarterback coaching, which he has done at multiple stops as well, including the past two years with Wisconsin.
Vanderbilt has been busy at shaking up the coaching staff this season, a disappointing one in Mason’s debut as a head coach. For the players at Vanderbilt, this will essentially be the third coaching staff in three years for the Commodores. Penn State head coach James Franklin took a number of assistants with him when he left the Vanderbilt program a year ago to coach the Nittany Lions. That left Mason with a lot of work to do, and the results this season were not positive.