NASHVILLE – Vanderbilt returns home to face No. 14 Florida this Saturday at 11 a.m. CT. The game will be broadcast on ESPN.
On Tuesday, Commodores head coach Derek Mason met the media to preview the matchup with the Gators. Mason was joined by offensive lineman Bruno Reagan and linebacker Josh Smith.
Here’s what the Dores had to say:
• Mason on No. 14 Florida, which is 5-1 following its win over then-No. 5 LSU last week: “They’re really starting to hit their stride a little bit. They’re finding ways to do things to be successful.”
• Mason on Vanderbilt’s loss to No. 2 Georgia, in which the Bulldogs pulled away just before halftime: “I told our guys, watching the tape, we played well for a quarter and 12 minutes. Then we backslid a little bit.”
• Vanderbilt committed nine penalties for 69 yards against Georgia, a number that didn’t sit well with Mason. “Nine penalties is too much for me. We had some of those penalties happen on consecutive drives… You say to yourself, where is this coming from?”
• Mason on Vanderbilt’s 3-3 start through six games: “Now is the time where, if you look at it, you’re halfway through the season. You’re heading into the first game on the backside of that. If you’re going to make the run, you’ve got to make a run now. So, let’s make a run.”
• Mason said first-year Florida coach Dan Mullen is getting the most out of quarterback Feleipe Franks. “I’ve seen Feleipe get better every week… That’s getting him to be confident and trusting what’s around him, because he does have weapons around him.”
• Mason implied linebacker Charles Wright, who missed the Georgia game, could return vs. Florida. “I saw him today on the practice field moving around with no red jersey on. I’m hoping that’s a good sign.”
• Reagan said tape of the Georgia game showed how close Vanderbilt is to breaking through with a big win. “We’re so close. We’re unbelievably close. It’s just about playing better. We’re right there. We saw that in the UGA game. We were driving up and down the field against a really good team.”
• Smith praised Franks’ apparent comfort within Florida’s offense: “He’s getting the ball to receivers and running the offense well. It’s going to be a challenge getting him down, [he’s a] good quarterback. But it’s nothing we’re not ready for.”
Zac Ellis is the Writer and Digital Media Editor for Vanderbilt Athletics.