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Derek Mason credits listening MORE to his critics for Vandy's improvement this season

In most coaching circles there seem to be two camps on critics; those that read what is written in the local papers, and take in what people on social media have to say, and those that avoid it so that it doesn't drag their mood up or down either way, and take that time some are reading and invest it back into their players and their program.

There are successful coaches that sit on both sides of the fence on this issue, and Vanderbilt head coach Derek Mason used to be one that didn't waste his time on the opinions of others. But this year his wife, LeighAnne, urged him to take a different approach, according to The Tennessean.

“LeighAnne is my filter, and she has encouraged me over the past year."

"She told me, ‘Pay more attention to what’s being said — good or bad — because at least you have a pulse of what’s going on around you.’ You never want to be oblivious to what’s being said about your program.

The article went on to point out that Mason hired a private speech coach to work in tandem with him and the Vandy athletic communication staff to help him better prepare for press conferences. One of their directives? Stop using so many catchphrases and stay focused, something that he struggled with the first two seasons as a first-time head coach who found himself prominently in front of cameras for hours each week.

“They said, ‘Listen, you can’t have 50 different catchphrases. Slow it down and speak about what you want to get across. So I try to stay on point now. I’ve gotten more comfortable. I’m not perfect, but at least I know what I want to get across.”

Vanderbilt finished the season with big wins over Ole Miss and in-state rival Tennessee to get them to 6-6 and bowl eligible for the first time under Mason. They'll take on NC State in the Independence Bowl later today.

Head here to read the full piece, with more on Mason's approach to outside critics and social media and his emotional view of his relationship with his players.