Building the Masonic Tradition
Building the Masonic Tradition is a Vanderbilt Football blog written by VandyRadio sports host Joshua LeBorious, new for the 2015 season. Joshua unwaveringly covers the Commodores for VandyRadio keeping a steady watch on the Vanderbilt football front. Check in throughout the season for a realistic breakdown of all the stats and updates, as we cover the start of a Masonic tradition.

In Pursuit of Success
One phrase I always heard growing up was this, “if you want to be a leader you have to be the first one there in the morning, and the last one to leave at night.” Coach Mason must have heard this same advice – or he figured it out himself, because the Commodores started spring practices earlier than all but one team in Division I football. You have already seen that update though, and I am not here to repeat what other news sources are telling you. I am here to tell you what that actually means for Vanderbilt football. The fact that Mason is starting so early gives the team a few advantages. For starters, it gives individual players time to improve by providing more opportunities to find shortcomings and fix them. Lets take this example, if you are given a paper and told to correct it in a week you will find and fix more mistakes than if you are told to correct it in an hour – it works the same way for football. That early practice also gives coaches more opportunities to strengthen their play-books. This happens in two ways.
1. They can see where players fit best, and then know what packages (groups of plays) they have available. This also allows them to figure out which recruits they will need immediately and which recruits will be red-shirted.
2. They can expand their play-books by adding more plays because players will have more time to practice the additional plays.
Finally, that extra time builds the team up. The more time you spend with someone, the more you will learn about them. This works the same way for football players, the extra days of practice will build the trust between teammates and will develop a more intimate knowledge of what players can and cannot do.
Another update you will receive through other various sources involves the technology Coach Mason is implementing in spring practice. Some of this technology does not warrant additional explanation; for example, I don’t have to explain the benefits that an indoor field has. I do feel the need to explain why the new Catapult Technologies GPS tracking gear is so helpful. If you go to the Tennessean, you can get a specific rundown of what the technology does specifically so I am not going to give you a specs readout; however, I will give you the highlights and some insight. Essentially these trackers take in a ton of variables about player exertion, speed, force, and other biological and physiological factors. This helps coaches optimize practice because they can individualize practice after finding what exercises can actually help each player, and they can see how far players can go before getting exhausted. This tech can break down how many snaps a receiver can play before he is going to start to slow down, and help all player avoid injuries. This will prevent some of the injuries that plagued the ‘Dores last year, avoid exhaustion, and further help coaches to use each player to the height of his potential.
Finally, these early spring practices allow the entire coaching staff to figure out the big question. How responsibilities are going to be divided on the staff. So far it seems that Mason will leave the offense to Andy Ludwig, almost looking like a co-head coach situation. This means that except in game-deciding decisions, Ludwig will be allowed to do his own thing – a good thing for our offense this year.
Spring practice looks good so far Vandy fans, check back next week to get more breakdowns of what the ‘Dores are doing this off season.

Check out VandyRadio’s comprehensive Vanderbilt sports blog series. Building the Masonic Tradition covers Commodore football, The Black & Gold Standard covers VU hoops, and Eyes of the Hawk covers Vandy baseball. VandyRadio.com is your home for year-round coverage of your favorite Vanderbilt teams. ©Joshua LeBorious 2015

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