Dan Mullen, Florida Gators player Dan Mullen calls Marco Wilson’s shoe penalty “unfortunate”


Florida coach Dan Mullen said he spoke to Marco Wilson after the Gators surprisingly lost to LSU 37-34 and called the heelless unsportsmanlike penalty for throwing shoes off.

The Gators stopped the tie in third place at the end of the fourth quarter when Wilson helped Kole Taylor cope after a 6-yard finish after barely two minutes left on the first slope. Taylor’s shoes came off Wilson’s hand and Wilson dropped them on the field, pulling several flags from the referees.

Six games later, Cade York hit the 57-yard-winning field goal in 23 seconds.

Mullen said after the game that he did not know what had happened. But after looking at Sunday’s tape, he said Wilson “got the gear and some of the football moved, the kid’s shoes were in his hands and he somehow threw, jumped and celebrated with his teammates.”

“He’s disappointed,” Mullen said at an SEC league game teleconference. “Too bad. It’s very unfortunate in this situation. I don’t think he intended to make fun of him and it wasn’t that he threw this to their sideline or did anything. It was a huge game, he thought it was probably a game winning game, and somehow he threw off his shoes and went to celebrate with his teammates, and unfortunately it was a penalty. So, I think it was a mistake (instead of someone really trying to respect the game) or mocking the opponent. “

Mullen added that the penalty is not the reason the Gators lost the game. The red zone failed several times throughout the race, and their own kick, Evan McPherson, missed a 51-yard field goal when time ran out, which would have made the game extra.

“For (Marco), I know he’s looking at things and realizing that that’s certainly not the reason we lost the game,” Mullen said. “There were a lot of factors going into this. It’s just an unfortunate fact in this situation because it was one of the most important moments of the game.”

Florida must leave the disappointment behind as they prepare for their No. 1 Alabama game on Saturday’s SEC Tournament in Atlanta. On some good news on the injury front, Mullen said he expects the tight-lipped Kyle Pitts to be free from the player. Pitts did not practice last week and did not play against LSU with a so-called protracted injury, and his presence was clearly omitted due to the Gators attack.

“We’ll see how it goes,” Mullen said. “We won’t practice until tomorrow, but talking to our coaches, they expect to get permission to play this week.”