Derek Mason, Vanderbilt coach got into a heated verbal exchange with both Gators defensive coordinator Todd Grantham and Florida coach Dan Mullen during Saturday’s contest in Nashville, Tenn.
This incident occurred with less than two minutes to play in the first half of the Gators’ 37-27 victory after Florida’s linebacker James Houston delivered a blindside hit on Vanderbilt’s Dare Odeyingbo at the time of a punt return.
Odeyingbo remained on the field near the Florida sideline, while Mason went over to check on him. He got into a very heated conversation with Grantham, and then Mullen also joined in, apparently suggesting Mason return to his sideline.
At the same time, both team’s benches were cleared and both teams were called for unsportsmanlike conduct. Florida linebacker Vosean Joseph was ejected as he initially refused to leave the field.
Houston also got ejected as he was flagged for targeting.
Mason and Mullen exchanged a long hug while discussing the matter after the contest.
Mason said that he talked to Dan at the end of that ballgame, and that was just a matter of players down, and their player on the sideline had said something directed to him, and he said something back, and Dan got mad — that’s how it started.
Mason told reporters that at the end of the day, they are just trying to make sure that they can play the game the right way, keep the game safe, and make sure everybody walks out of this.
He added that it is a referee’s job to referee and not theirs and he and Dan both respect the process as well as each other.
Mullen also downplayed the incident during a postgame interview.
Mullen said that Derek and him are really close friends and Darek knows that he is great .
He went on to say that Darek is doing an amazing job here and said, ” You just look at what he has been able to accomplish going to bowl games, coaching this team, how they play and how they compete. He does a superb job. He and me are really close friends”.
He also said that they are not at all going to get into all this publicly.
“Derek is a good friend and we both need to ensure that our sidelines are cleaner in the situation. I am sure Darek also thinks the same thing. There is nothing more to it and nothing at all to go publicly”, he added.