HOOVER, Ala. — Derek Mason is entering his fourth season as a SEC head coach, but he’ll soon be getting his first taste of the league’s top team.
Nick Saban’s Alabama Crimson Tide will make its first trip to Vanderbilt since the 2007 season on Sept. 23. Don’t expect Mason to lose any sleep over it.
On Tuesday, during his media appearance in the main ballroom at 2017 SEC Media Days, Mason was asked about his first opportunity to go toe-to-toe with college football’s best coach.
“I respect Nick Saban,” Mason said. “I like his demeanor on the field.
“But I don’t fear anybody. And our team doesn’t. When we line up to play Alabama, we’re going to play Alabama.”
Of course, Vanderbilt has a trio of teams to concern itself with before the Crimson Tide comes to town. The Commodores open the season on the road against Middle Tennessee before returning home for two non-conference games against Alabama A&M and Kansas State. Alabama will be the SEC opener for the Commodores.
Mason has a reason to be bullish on his chances in conference games this season, returning most of his key cogs on a team that finished the regular season 4-2 with wins against Georgia, Ole Miss and Tennessee on the resume.