It’s talking season in Hoover as SEC Media Days continues in earnest and one of the bigger storylines around the league this year is which team or teams can possibly pose a problem to the big kids on the block: Alabama and Nick Saban.
Naturally just about every coach has been asked about it and have given a wide range of answers, from LSU’s Ed Orgeron noting the Tigers played the Tide closest last year to Georgia’s Kirby Smart remarking that talent and development will continue to help bring the Bulldogs closer to that level. Vanderbilt’s Derek Mason was also asked about Alabama given that they are the Commodores’ conference opener and provided a bit of a unique spin to the question while speaking at the podium.
“In speaking about Coach Saban and his football team, there’s nobody right now that’s doing it better, you know, when you look at longevity of his program, what he’s done, how he’s built it. He’s built it around who he is and how he sees football, and that’s extremely important,” said Mason. “But here’s what I tell you. I don’t fear anybody, and our team as well. So when we line up to play Alabama, we got to line up to play Alabama. We have three other opponents, starting with MTSU. That’s where we sit today, and that’s where we’ll be. When we face Alabama, we’re going to be ready to play.”
The ‘Dores return as many as 17 starters from last year’s squad and have become somewhat of a dark horse in the SEC East given how wide open the division has become. The tone of their season figures to be set with how they play the defending conference champions in Nashville in late September and judging by the talk of their head coach, Vandy doesn’t appear to be backing down one bit despite the league heavyweight coming to town.