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Recapping Derek Mason’s Week 2 Press Conference and Depth Chart Release

Well, we’ve named a starting punter, at least.

NCAA Football: SEC Football Media Day Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Derek Mason had his weekly press availability ahead of the Purdue game during the lunch hour. We recap his thoughts below and also have some thoughts on the new depth chart.

  • Derek Mason is impressed with Purdue’s defense. We need to do well on special teams and defense in order to put the offense in good position.
  • We know what we’re up against with Purdue’s offense.
  • “How did the pocket affect the passing game?” The offensive line was okay early, but we were trying to get the ball out as fast as we could and needed to keep Neal upright.
  • We had some miscues with the snaps (understatement of the year) and that affected Riley Neal’s timing. That really affects the quarterback’s rhythm. Not taking shots downfield is “not who we are.”
  • Riley Neal moved in the pocket the way we thought he would, but he wasn’t able to set his feet like you would want him to. It sounds like he needed to be able to stay in the pocket in order to hit the routes, and the result was a lot of dump-offs (my words, not Mason’s.)
  • We have to do a better job all the way around.
  • We have to start faster. (Ed. note: yeah, spotting the other team a 21-0 lead seems suboptimal.)
  • “You learn a lot about yourself in Game 1.” COACHSPEAK.
  • The three offensive linemen who were out last week are “day-to-day.” Jamauri Wakefield is going to be on the shelf for “a while.”
  • We haven’t heard anything on Malik Langham. (Ed. note: this is ridiculous.) Reading between the lines, it sounds like they expect him to be cleared at some point.
  • Jason Tarver and Derek Mason look at things “similarly, but different.”
  • Jeff Brohm’s playbook is “expansive.” They create a lot of stress on your defense by getting their playmakers in good matchups.
  • Rondale Moore is one of the best receivers Vanderbilt will see this season.
  • On Langham: “we’ve done the waiver, and now you just have to be patient.”
  • On Riley Neal: “He understood that we wanted to play better, and he wants to win, he’s a competitor. He got back to the drawing board and looked at his tape and figured out what he needed to do. Today in practice, that’s what I saw. But it’s not just him, it’s everybody around him.”
  • You play two top ten teams in the first month, and Purdue is squeezed in there. Does that add urgency to this game? “That’s the way you see it. We go into every game with the mentality that we want to win.”
  • This team understands they didn’t play their best ball on Saturday.
  • What can you learn from the second half that Nevada did so well? (Context: Nevada outscored Purdue 27-7 in the second half.) Purdue had five turnovers in the game, and Mason thinks that was the difference, and Nevada just kept playing hard. You have to play a 60-minute ballgame.
  • Is there any value to Ke’Shawn Vaughn having one of his best games at Purdue as a freshman? Derek Mason actually didn’t know about this. But he has no reason to expect that Vaughn isn’t going to run hard on Saturday.
  • We need a great offensive performance on Saturday.

All right, and courtesy of Chad Bishop, here is this week’s depth chart. I’m not going to go into the full depth chart, but I’m going to highlight the changes:

  • As you probably expected, most of the “or” designations from last week are gone. Riley Neal is the starting QB.
  • Jamauri Wakefield is off the depth chart at RB; Ja’Veon Marlow, who didn’t play last week, is now listed as the second-string RB.
  • Whatever the hell the “U” position was last week, it’s no longer there; Ben Bresnahan and Gavin Schoenwald are just listed as the third and fourth tight ends. And now, the depth chart lists three WRs: Kalija Lipscomb and C.J. Bolar are still listed as starters; Justice Shelton-Mosley or Chris Pierce is the third WR.
  • The offensive line is changed up from last week, mostly to reflect last week’s lineup, but Devin Cochran and Saige Young now have the “or” designation at LT and LG, respectively. Presumably this has to do with questionable availability for Saturday; neither played against Georgia. Sean McMoore isn’t listed on the depth chart, which is probably an indication that he won’t be available.
  • We’re back to a 3-4, I guess? Malik Langham is not listed on the DL depth chart; meanwhile, Caleb Peart is listed as the starter at one ILB spot with Brayden DeVault-Smith or Feleti Afemui as the other starter (those latter two were the two starters last week.)
  • Nobody asked about Frank Coppet’s availability, but he’s not on the depth chart. Dashaun Jerkins moves into the starting safety spot vacated by Coppet, which honestly, he pretty well earned last week. Randall Haynie is now listed as a co-starter along with DC Williams at one cornerback spot, and Allan George is listed as the nickel back.
  • Harrison Smith is now listed as the starting punter, which, duh. Also Scott Meyer is now listed as the starting long snapper.
  • True freshman Devin Boddie takes Jamauri Wakefield’s spot on kick returns; Kalija Lipscomb is now the second punt returner.