For the first time in his tenure at Vanderbilt, Derek Mason will enter fall camp with a starting quarterback.
Mason named sophomore Kyle Shurmur as the Commodores’ starter for the Sept. 1 season opener against South Carolina, according to a report from The Tennessean’s Adam Sparks.
After two years of underwhelming quarterback play following a battle through fall camp, the third-year coach has decided to take a different approach.
“We’re not going to enter into the season like we did my first year – talking about multiple quarterbacks,” Mason said, according to Sparks. “There is a (starter) and a (backup). That’s it. That’s how firm I’m going to be. That’s how firm I need to be. I don’t need us to get distracted by a quarterback controversy.”
That’s a change in Mason’s stance from the spring, when he said competition was open between Shurmur and junior QB Wade Freebeck. Following the Black and Gold Spring Game, Mason indicated that Shurmur led the competition but stopped short of naming him the team’s starter.
Johnny McCrary, who started last season as the team’s starting quarterback, transferred out of the program prior to spring practice.
Shurmur, who is the son of long-time NFL coach Pat Shurmur, saw playing time as a true freshman during the second half of the 2015 season. He had mixed results during what amounted to a trial by fire, which was to be expected from a young quarterback on struggling offense playing against SEC defenses.
Shurmur led the Commodores to two SEC victories last season, completing a combined 23 of 46 passes during conference wins against Missouri and Kentucky.