On Tuesday, Derek Mason provided an answer to the question of who Vanderbilt’s starting quarterback will be. That answer is... you all are just going to have to wait and see who I send out there to take the first snap against Georgia.
Derek Mason said he won’t announce Vandy’s starting QB publicly until Georgia game.— Adam Sparks (@AdamSparks) August 20, 2019
Now, follow-up tweets from Adam suggests that the real emphasis here is on the word “publicly.” It appears that the coaching staff knows who the starter is going to be, or at least that they will know by the time they begin game prep on Thursday. So why keep that a mystery from fans?
Well, it seems that the person they really want to keep secrets from is Kirby Smart, the head coach of the Georgia Bulldogs, Vanderbilt’s opponent a week from Saturday. There are, I guess, good reasons to keep things close to the vest, but it’s not exactly clear what they hope to accomplish here.
If we’re assuming that the two candidates to start at quarterback are Riley Neal and Deuce Wallace, yes, there are differences between the two. Neal throws a better deep ball, and Wallace is a bit more mobile. But those differences aren’t significant enough that Kirby Smart would completely change his game plan knowing that one or the other were going to be the starter.
And in any case, given what we’ve seen from Mason in season openers in both 2014 (guh) and 2016, Smart would probably be right to just go ahead and assume he’ll see multiple quarterbacks in the season opener. That would be true whether Mason named a starter at the beginning of fall camp or if he didn’t announce a starter publicly.
In other words, this feels like gamesmanship for the sake of gamesmanship. I’m sure there’s some sort of four-dimensional chess that I’m just not seeing there, because I am nothing more than a lawyer who posts his musings about Vanderbilt football here at Anchor of Gold dot com. But I’m really just not seeing it here.