Derek Mason and Dan Mullen got into a heated shouting match during the Vanderbilt-Florida game on Saturday after a targeting hit by Florida player James Houston IV against Vandy’s Dare Odeyingbo.
As Mason and Vanderbilt defensive line coach C.J. Ah You checked on Odeyingbo, laying prone on the Vanderbilt Stadium turf at midfield, Mason got into a shouting match with Mullen and Gators defensive coordinator Todd Grantham.
After a targeting call, things got chippy in the Florida/Vanderbilt game 👀 pic.twitter.com/UJBna9MKSh
— ESPN (@espn) October 13, 2018
None needed on this one. pic.twitter.com/E1e9oT0r9j
— Cork Gaines (@CorkGaines) October 13, 2018
Mullen told ESPN’s Tom Luginbill at halftime the substance of the conversation — to put it lightly — would be reserved for SEC commissioner Greg Sankey and coordinator of football officials Steve Shaw.
The No. 11 Gators rallied from a 21-3 deficit to win 37-27, and afterward cooler heads prevailed.
Dan Mullen and Derek Mason exchange words… nicely. They even smile. pic.twitter.com/PS92KujyCm
— Bryan Fischer (@BryanDFischer) October 13, 2018
Neither side held a grudge after the game.
“Derek’s a great, really close friend of mine,” Mullen said. “And I think, our sideline, we’ve got to make sure we’re cleaner in that situation and he probably thinks the same thing.”
“Our player was down, their player from the sideline said something to me and I said something back, Dan gets mad. That’s how it started,” said Mason. “At the end of the day, we’re trying to play the game the right way and make sure everybody walks out of there.”
On Monday, The Tennessean reported the SEC won’t punish either side’s coaches for the incident. Instead, conference leadership will give each side a stern talking-to, but no fines or suspensions will be leveed.
“Unsportsmanlike conduct penalties were appropriately administered on the field by the officials,” SEC spokesman Herb Vincent told the paper. “Any discussion about decorum among the coaches will be handled privately between the conference office and the participating institutions. Both coaches appeared to put this issue behind them in their post-game midfield meeting and post-game comments.”
Sankey was actually at the game and presumably discussed the incident with both sides after the game, which would figure into Monday’s announcement.