Vanderbilt and the New England Patriots would seem to be worlds apart on the football spectrum, and Derek Mason found out just how much so in June.

The Commodores head coach took a trip to Patriots minicamp in June and was overwhelmed by what he saw.

“You were just in awe of how forward-moving these practices were,” Mason told Mike Reiss of ESPN. “I was trying to take in every moment, whether it was with a scout, the director of player personnel or Coach Belichick. There was so much information about culture, details, about the game itself, and how they play it – winning situational football – it sort of just overwhelms you.”

Mason added that it didn’t just come from Bill Belichick, the entire organization shares the same vision.

“It’s a special place,” Mason said. “The culture that is in that building starts with ownership, and then it goes all the way down. It’s about winning. It’s about a culture of pride and discipline and understanding that you can’t move forward looking in the rearview mirror.”

Mason is heading into his fourth year at Vanderbilt and is still looking for his first winning season. Perhaps spending time with an organization that’s captured five Super Bowl titles will spark Mason and the Commodores in 2017.

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