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Kirby Smart shares surprising take on bizarre thrown-shoe play in LSU-Florida game

ATHENS — Kirby Smart was asked his takeaway on the most talked-about personal foul penalty of the season, the thrown shoe at the end of the LSU-Florida game.

The play, on which Gators’ defensive back Marco Wilson threw the shoe of tight end Kole Taylor after stopping him 6 yards short on a third-and-10 at the LSU 29, led to the Tigers’ game-winning 57-yard field goal in the 37-34 triumph at The Swamp.

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Heisman Trophy candidate Kyle Trask turned the ball over three times and threw his third Pick-6 of the season, and Florida kicker Evan McPherson missed a 51-yard field goal as time expired.

But much of the talk centered around the bizarre thrown shoe incident.

While Smart is no fan of Florida, for certain, it might surprise some to hear the Georgia head coach took no pleasure in seeing the Gators’ player make a football emotional miscue.

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I hate it for Marco because he’s a great kid — he’s a kid we recruited,” Smart said. “I’ve known him for a long time. His dad’s a high school coach in the Miami area. He’s a really good football player, and it’s tough, it’s unfortunate.

“Hopefully, he learns from the mistake and some teams can as well because no coach wants to see a game decided by things like that.”

Florida coach Dan Mullen said immediately after the game that he didn’t see the play.

On Sunday, Mullen said he spoke with Wilson after the game about the play.

“Obviously, I know he’s disappointed but, you know, I mean it’s a shame,” Mullen said on the SEC Championship Game teleconference. “I went back to watch the play and he made the tackle and, I mean, part of the football move the kid’s shoe was in his hand and he kind of threw it and jumped and celebrated with his teammates. So it’s pretty unfortunate.”

Smart said Georgia spends time each week showing clips of penalties to remind the Bulldogs’ players what can happen when they lose discipline on the field.

“Every Thursday and Friday, we show situational football analysis and try to teach our players about different situations in a game and we try to learn from experiences across the country,” Smart said. “We use those situations to say, ‘Hey, look, this guy celebrated and they had to kick off from 15 yards back. Look at what it cost them. They returned it and kicked a field goal and won the game.

“Every time you have a teaching moment that kids can learn from, you do the best job you can to show them that, and hopefully, it hits home with one guy.”

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