Florida Gators coach Dan Mullen didn’t see the shoe toss heard ‘round the SEC when it happened Saturday night.
He did, however, review it afterward and talked with the shoe thrower, Marco Wilson, whose 15-yard penalty gave LSU a first down and led to the Tigers’ game-winning field goal.
Mullen’s reaction: “Really an unfortunate situation and a mistake instead of somebody really trying to disrespect the game or taunt the opponent or anything of that nature.”
Mullen said Sunday that he doesn’t believe Wilson intended to taunt the Tigers by throwing Kole Taylor’s size-14 Nike after what would have been a third-down stop in the closing minutes of a 34-34 game.
“He made the tackle,” Mullen said during a teleconference with reporters to preview Saturday’s SEC title game against No. 1 Alabama. “Part of the football move, the kid’s shoe is in his hand. He kind of threw it and jumped and celebrated with his teammates.
“It’s pretty unfortunate in that situation. I don’t think there was any intent to taunt, and there wasn’t — it’s not like he was throwing it at their sideline or doing any of that.
“It was a huge play. He thought possibly a game-winning play, and he kind of threw a shoe and went to celebrate with his teammates. Unfortunately it was a penalty.”
Mullen said he spent some time with Wilson on Saturday night after the game and that his starting defensive back was “disappointed.”
“It’s a shame,” Mullen said.
Although the play had social media buzzing and clearly was a critical mistake, Mullen made it clear that the Gators had other issues beyond thrown footwear.
“That’s certainly not the reason that we lost the game,” Mullen said. “There’s many, many factors that went into that.”