Vanderbilt Fans, Don’t Be Mad!
No Spring Football Game for Commodores
It was announced this week that Vanderbilt will kick off spring ball Feb. 27th. They will wrap it up with a scrimmage on Saturday Mar. 25th, followed by an autograph session with the players. The Vanderbilt faithful are feeling angry, annoyed, and slighted after learning there would be no spring game. By not being inside the Vanderbilt football building, one can only speculate as to why they are NOT having a Spring Game.
Here are my thoughts. You decide if any of them make sense to you and if you are willing to trust the process.
In Mason We Trust
Head coach Derek Mason is building a program. You already know this; you were there last season. After the Georgia Tech game, you were outraged and yelled for his job. Eight weeks later, you started dancing as your ‘Dores beat Ole Miss and Tennessee in the final two games of the season. Vandy was then bowl eligible, and you felt like you had won the Super Bowl. You clamored to buy his vest and adjusted Christmas plans to make a trip to Shreveport. Your Vanderbilt Commodores appreciate that love and support.
Successful Season > Meaningless March Game
Maybe…just maybe Mason is doing what is best for the team he is constructing. Perhaps he has a bigger vision in mind, and this is one small sacrifice to make his team stronger and his program better. Wouldn’t you rather have a consistent, solid and successful season rather than a meaningless spring game in the middle of March?
I know which I would prefer.
Your Commodores will get better because of the 15 spring practices, not because they suit up to play a mini game with modified rules. The football team will get stronger because of the off-season workouts with Coach Dobson, not because the school plans a social event. So let’s try to focus on the bigger picture and what is better for the team and not a missed social opportunity.
You say that you want “exposure”, but do you want quality or quantity when it comes to exposure? You can have Kardashian exposure or William and Kate exposure. Yes, the spring game gets played at nauseum on the SEC Network. Do you know for a fact that it actually HELPS get recruits? The kids that can academically play for Vanderbilt already have the university on their radar. You scream about exposure, but perhaps Mason wants to let the regular season do the talking. There is no better exposure than a solid, consistent, and successful team when it really counts.
Spring Game Week = BUSY
Every thing Mason and his staff does during spring ball is NCAA-regulated down to the minute. With that being said, during spring game week, Mason has to sacrifice his limited time with his team to meet with the SEC TV crews, etc. Add that to a number of interviews with various media outlets, and even more time is taken away from his team. All the while, the extended support staff have to organize the game officials, the food truck vendors, in addition to activities for the fans of all ages. Not to mention a number of events needing to be planned for football parents, season ticket holders and NCC members.
Doesn’t sound like much to you, but it is pretty much a mini game week to the support staff and the coaches. Of course you as fans have it easy, all you have to do is show up and enjoy.
It is important to realize there are several schools across the country that do not have official “Spring Games”. Yes, it is a HUGE disappointment. You are allowed to be mad. Yet, you need to think BIGGER picture. We all want a little taste of football in the spring. In fact, football is the ONLY sport I follow so, I crave football like a fat kid craves cake. Keep the passion for your team alive, but trust the process, and what Mason is establishing at Vanderbilt. Remember, there are nine games in the state of Tennessee this fall. So, if you live in the Nashville area, go to the scrimmage with your fellow Vandy fans and have fun. It is going to be a great season! You just need to trust Coach Mason and his process.