Gator-on-Gator block still lives in infamy
August, 25, 2014
By Jeff Barlis | ESPN.com
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- It started with some innocent ribbing when Florida players watched their game tape after losing to Georgia Southern in late November of last season.
The play that caught everyone's eyes and tickled their funny bones revealed Gator wide receiver Quinton Dunbar and center Jonotthan Harrison accidentally blocking each other.
Within days the media got hold of the story and it went viral.
"I looked down and I've got text messages from friends joking," Dunbar recalls, "and then it blew up from there."
The Gator-on-Gator block became a symbol for everything that went wrong for Florida during its 4-8 season in 2013. It was the insult piled on top of a heap of injuries.
But the notoriety was just getting started. For weeks, the play held the top spot in SportsCenter's "Not Top 10" list, as voted on by viewers. It lived in infamy well into the spring.
"Yeah, it was everywhere," Dunbar said. "It was crazy because I remembered that play, but I didn't expect it to get that big."
It was hard to miss. Even Florida offensive coordinator Kurt Roper, who coached at Duke last year, had to laugh when asked recently if he had seen it.
"Aw yeah, I've seen it," he said, looking to soften the blow. "Things like that happen.
"So last year we were 10-2, a pretty good team. We're playing North Carolina to win the Coastal [Division] outright. We're down 25-24. We've got the ball on the 6-yard line. We've got second-and-goal, so a touchdown's big, a field goal puts us ahead. We're running down about three minutes to go in the game. I call a play and both our guards pull. One of them was supposed to pull and the other one wasn't. Well, they messed up. Both guards pulled and ran right into each other. That doesn't get mentioned because we went 10-2 in the regular season. Nobody sees it.
"How many times do defensive linemen run twist games up front and they run right into each other? I think it's just a product of the season, because you could watch any game and see those type things all the time."
Several months later Dunbar flashes a smile and laughs easily at the memory.
"I was going down to crack the safety and when I looked up I happened to be latched on with Harrison," he said. "I don't know what happened, but that's football."
Harrison didn't find much humor in the situation last year. Teammates say he was bothered every time "his play" popped up on TV. He refused to talk about it publicly.
Now fighting for a roster spot with the Indianapolis Colts, Harrison admits he was frustrated. It's clear the normally jovial lineman still bristles at the thought of it.
"I don't want to dwell on it to be honest," Harrison said. "I'm just over it."
So is Dunbar, who is on the verge of a fresh, new season -- his last in the Gators' orange and blue uniform.
"I'm just glad [the play's run on SportsCenter] is over," he said. "I'm ready to move on."
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