HOOVER, Ala. -- Tucked away in a hotel meeting room, Derek Mason slumps in his chair, wearing a breezy black Dri-Fit shirt, athletic shorts and sandals.
Twelve hours from facing the feeding frenzy that is SEC media days for the first time, Vanderbilt's rookie head coach is relaxed and smiling.
The former Stanford defensive coordinator, who commanded back-to-back top-20 defenses, entered the nation's longest, most scrutinized media days radiating confidence.
"I'm just trying to make sure that we are who we think we are," Mason told ESPN.com in July. "And that's a process. [Former Vanderbilt coach] James [Franklin] did a great job of pushing this program to relevancy, but if you dream small, you accomplish small things.
"It doesn't feel tough, man, because it feels like I'm telling the truth. When you're at a place like Vanderbilt and what you're selling is real ... I'm not selling pipe dreams."
To read more of Edward Aschoff's piece on Mason's journey to Vanderbilt, click here.