Vanderbilt Commodores Must Pick Right Quarterback

By Tim Letcher

When Derek Mason was hired as the new head coach of the Vanderbilt Commodores, he inherited a program on the rise. And that’s certainly good news for the first-time head coach.

What Mason also inherited is a three-way battle for the starting quarterback job. With Austyn Carta-Samuels gone, the ‘Dores must find his replacement.

From a distance, it would appear that redshirt sophomore Patton Robinette would be the starter. Robinette played quite a bit last season as the backup. Robinette was 46-of-88 through the air for 642 yards, with four touchdowns and five interceptions in 2013. He also rushed 71 times for 214 yards, with seven scores.

While Robinette may have the edge in experience, that doesn’t mean he will absolutely be the guy this fall. He faces two other challengers for the job.

Stephen Rivers, a transfer who formerly played for the LSU Tigers, is now on campus and is immediately eligible. Rivers, the younger brother of Philip Rivers of the San Diego Chargers, did not see much time on the field at LSU. However, he does have the talent to play in the Southeastern Conference and will push Robinette for the job.

The Vanderbilt staff was also impressed by the work of redshirt freshman Johnny McCrary, who sat out last season. McCrary is 6-4, 218 pounds and he will be given every chance to win the job in fall camp.

If the Commodores are to continue the winning trend established by former head coach James Franklin, they must find the right quarterback to lead the team.

Tim Letcher is a contributing writer for and a member of the Football Writers Association of America. Follow him on Twitter @TimLetcher , on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

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