It's time to take one last look at the 2014 season for all 14 SEC teams. Today, we're handing out our grades for each team, starting with the Vanderbilt Commodores. First-year coach Derek Mason had a rough start to the SEC, as the Commodores went 3-9 a year removed from James Franklin's improbable three-year run in Nashville, Tennessee.
Offense: It was not a very flattering offensive year for the Commodores. Vanderbilt ranked last in the SEC in total offense (288.3 yards per game), rushing (109.3) and scoring (17.2 points per game). The Commodores were slightly better throwing the ball -- ranking 13th (179.1). Vandy spent most of the year rotating four quarterbacks, only to lack any sort of continuity and throw a league-high 19 interceptions. The bright spot was freshman running back Ralph Webb, who ran for 912 yards and four touchdowns. Grade: F
Defense: While the Dores gave up a league-high 33.2 points per game, they were a little more productive on this side of the ball than on offense. Vandy still ranked in the bottom half of the SEC in the top defensive categories, but ranked sixth in the conference in pass defense versus league opponents. Redshirt freshman linebacker Nigel Bowden proved to be one of the league’s top young players, leading Vandy and all first-year players in total tackles (78). Grade: D
Special teams: The Dores were actually pretty successful when it came to returning kicks in 2014. Vandy had one of the league’s top kickoff returners in Darrius Sims, who tied for first in the SEC with two touchdowns and also averaged 24.5 yards per return. Vandy also registered a punt return for a touchdown, but surrendered two as well. Kicker Tommy Openshaw hit 8 of 11 field goal attempts, while punter Colby Cooke averaged 42.4 yards per punt and downed 19 inside the 20-yard line. Grade: C+
Coaching: The fact that Mason had to make so many coaching changes during the offseason tells you all you need to know about the difficulties this staff had in 2014. Mason, himself, would probably tell you that he and his assistants underachieved in their first year in Nashville. Mason even admitted that the handling of the quarterback situation stunted the offense's growth. Going winless in SEC play after the last staff went to three straight bowl games stings, but for a first-year coach, you have to expect some bumps along the way. Grade: D-
Overall: This was a season to forget for the program. From the carousel at quarterback to the embarrassing blowout loss to Temple to open the season, the Dores looked nothing like the teams Franklin guided. Vandy led the league in turnovers (29) and crossed the 20-point mark in SEC play just once. It was a trying year for Mason and his team, but the fact that Mason made the moves he did after the season shows that he understands 2014 wasn’t good enough. Grade: D-