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November 22, 2008

Estopinan gets a proper sendoff

Emmanuel Moody joked that Javier Estopinan is too big to dance.

If the 6-foot-2, 290-pound defensive tackle ever had reason to two-step or shake his rump, it was Saturday in Florida's 70-19 demolition of The Citadel when Estopinan rumbled his way in for a 1-yard touchdown.

After three ACL tears and rehabs, that touchdown made every extra bench rep, squat and every other second of rehab hurt a little less.

"(Coach is) stingy with his touchdowns," Estopinan said. "There's so many playmakers on offense you would never think you're going to get a touchdown."

Estopinan didn't think it was going to happen, but Meyer did. In something that's apparently been a few weeks in the making, Meyer wanted Estopinan to go out with a touchdown if he had the opportunity.

They let Estopinan.

"We said, 'We're going to get you a touchdown,'" Coach Urban Meyer said.

The redshirt senior, however, was a little more skeptical. Would they really give up a touchdown to a senior defensive tackle when Percy Harvin and Tim Tebow still have stats to build for potential NFL careers?

"I said he was crazy," Estopinan said. "He's lying."

If Meyer was lying, then he didn't tell offensive coordinator Dan Mullen who made the call.

"When he crossed that goal line, I was jumping up," senior defensive back Andrew Fritze said. "Just the amount of work he does…it's a good thing to have a touchdown in a book."

It was Estopinan's first touchdown in about seven years. The last one came in his sophomore year of high school when he played tight end.

"That was a big deal there right there," senior running back Kestahn Moore said. "Nobody wanted to tackle him. It was an easy six for Javi."

It looked easy from Moore's perspective, but it was more of a mystery for Estopinan.
"I was so dazed and confused, I didn't know what to do," said Estopinan of the moment after he scored.

"If you watch the play again, I almost, like, froze for a little bit."

He even admitted his goal was just not to drop the ball.

With the injuries he has had to overcome, it'd be hard to see someone like that dropping the ball.

"If you have a negative attitude, it just brings you down," Estopinan said.



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