VIDEO: Derek Mason Talks About Challenge of Facing No. 1 Alabama
When the season began, very few people were pointing to September 23 as an important matchup to open SEC play, but the Vanderbilt Commodores enter this weekend's game with the same undefeated record as Alabama.
It's not a position that the Commodores are put in very often. The program has faced the No. 1 ranked team just seven times in school history and have lost all six by an average margin of 19 points per game. Coincidentally, that's the point spread for this weekend's game against Alabama.
"(We're) facing an Alabama team that's really good, as you well know," Mason said. "The number one ranked team in the country. And our football team is handling this the way they should. It's a different opponent, Alabama's a good team, but our football is actually practicing the way they always practice so we are handling this thing the right way."
Mason seemed confident in his team and its focus coming off an upset of No. 18 Kansas State last weekend, but he understands the challenge that lies ahead.
"Anytime you play teams of this caliber, you're going to get great offense, great defense, and great special teams. And so for us, it's going to be about matching intensity, being able to play hard, be physical, making sure that we can get to deep water, and let's play good football."
That's something the Commodores have done well this season through three games, and it's hard to argue that many SEC teams have enjoyed a better start to the season.
"We relish the opportunity. You know, I've said it before, we're going to play good teams in the conference but we don't fear anybody in this conference. That's what you sign up for when you come to the SEC. Nobody wants to be the doormat of the SEC."
Alabama and Vanderbilt are scheduled for a 2:30 p.m. kickoff on CBS. Pregame coverage will begin at 9:30 a.m. on Tide 102.9 and 95.3 the Bear.