Derek Mason is taking on the challenge of maintaining the momentum of the Vanderbilt Commodores in 2014 after back-to-back nine-win seasons. While he faces some major transition as he puts his stamp on the program, Mason is not shying away from using the veterans at his disposal, naming redshirt sophomore Patton Robinette the starting quarterback for this fall. As the only QB on the roster with any starting experience, Robinette will provide a steadying hand for the offense as they transition into the Mason era.
Last season, Robinette played in 10 games as the “change-of-pace” quarterback, splitting time with Austyn Carta-Samuels. He was used primarily as a runner and completed just 46 of 88 passes for 642 yards with four touchdowns and five interceptions. When Carta-Samuels went down with an injury against the Georgia Bulldogs last season, Robinette stepped in and led a 17-point rally in the fourth quarter in a 31-27 win. He ultimately started three games last season, including wins over the Florida Gators and the BBVA Compass Bowl win over the Houston Cougars.
That experience likely helped Robinette hold off challenges from redshirt freshman dual-threat QB Johnny McCrary and 6-foot-7 transfer from the LSU Tigers Stephen Rivers. While Mason had high praise for both quarterbacks during the offseason, their lack of game experience likely put them too far back in the quarterback derby to overcome Robinette in the starter position.
With a team in transition like Vanderbilt is under Mason, having the steadying hand of a veteran can be a major asset. Will the experience of Patton Robinette prove to be a difference maker for the Commodores as they try and make a third-straight bowl game in 2014?