the study of the kicking components within sports

Monday, September 23, 2013

Florida Gators 2013 Specialists

Our summer tour of FBS schools looks at the specialists for the Florida Gators.

9/23/13 update:
"I'm going to open it up with Kyle,' coach Will Muschamp said. 'Johnny Townsend's been a guy that's probably been as consistent a punter as we've had in camp. We'll pull the redshirt off Johnny if we need to.' Townsend was a last-second addition to Florida's recruiting class back in February, when Florida was able to flip his commitment from Ohio State on national signing day. Muschamp's plan was to redshirt him, but Christy's punting woes have caused him to rethink that strategy. 'We need to get more production at the punter position, and that's what we'll do,' he said. After Austin Hardin missed a 41-yard field goal against Tennessee, his job is up for grabs too. 'Austin, I think, same situation,' Muschamp said. 'I'm going to give Brad (Phillips) some live looks this week in practice and see how he responds'."
8/29/13: punting update:
"Seven months after undergoing surgery to repair an injury he sustained when he fell off his scooter - yet played with all season - Christy said he's finally feeling healthy again. But the recovery hasn't been easy. 'To be honest, my shoulder in the spring set me back a little bit, but I think I'm doing pretty well,' Christy said this week. 'I was hoping it wouldn't screw me up at all, but just not being able to catch snaps for a while, it's weird. And then I had to just get back into it.' Christy said he's 100 percent healthy now and looking to improve upon his 2012 season - which is saying a lot.... 'I want to do really well and improve on last year, and live up to all the preseason stuff,' Christy said."
8/26/13 kicking update:
"Redshirt freshman Austin Hardin has won the place-kicking job, edging out senior walk-on, and former Buchholz High standout, Brad Phillips. 'Right now, Austin would be (the kicker),' UF coach Will Muschamp said Monday. 'Brad was slowed by a groin (injury in camp). Brad kicked very well when he kicked, he just didn't have as many attempts or at-bats as Austin did. 'Austin sort of distanced himself as a kickoff guy and for the place-kicking duties. But Brad is a guy who has been in the game before and done it when the lights were on, so that's something we're going to work through during the season'.”
Kicker: Brad Phillips, senior (Gainesville, FL / Buchholz HS)
"My goal for this season is to be a more consistent kicker and to be ready for game situations. Being behind Caleb Sturgis for the past three years has been the best experience when it comes to learning about the kicking game. However, it also left me with some big shoes to fill and a standard that has been set for kickers here at Florida. Although I do have some game experience, I have never played a full season. Competing in the SEC, you play at the toughest, loudest stadiums and need to stay concentrated which is something I have been working on this offseason. Staying healthy and consistent are key for me this season to be one of the top kickers in the SEC. Go Gators!"
Kicker: Austin Hardin, freshman (Atlanta, GA / Marist)
Competing against Phillips for the starting job.
2012: Did not see any action and redshirted.
High school: A three-star prospect according to ESPN and…Rated the No. 1 kicking prospect in the nation by ESPN…Kicked at the Under Armour All-America game…Went 13-of-20 on field goals, including a 59-yard game-winner, and converted all of his extra-point attempts
“It was great for me to learn behind someone who was great at what they did, someone who I think was the best at what they did in America last year. It helped me grow on the mental side a lot.... Brad is great to train with. He’s been here for five years, he kicks a really good ball. I’ll make a kick and I’ll turn around and Brad’s making it too. Each day we’re pushing each other to get better and better and that’s what’s so great about this competition."
Kicker: Francisco Velez, junior (Ocala, FL / Trinity Catholic)
Enrolled at UF in summer of 2010 and walked on in September 2010.
2012: Did not see any game action for the Gators
2011:A member of the UF Scout Team
Coach Will Muschamp noted following Spring practices: "[Phillips] is really kicking well. Austin has done some nice things. Frank Velez has come along as a third kicker we've kind of thrown into the competition. Certainly no one has taken the job yet but I'm very pleased with our progress there. We've got to continue to see that success out of that position."
Punter: Kyle Christy, junior (Brownsburg, IN / Brownsburg HS)
"As a sophomore, Christy was one of three finalists last season for the Ray Guy Award, given annually to the best at his position. He also received several All-American and All-Southeastern Conference honors, averaging 45.8 yards over 66 punts...

“I want to win the Ray Guy award, and I also want to get stronger and get my shoulder back to 100 percent', said Christy who had offseason surgery to repair a torn labrum that he played with last season. 'It’s kind of weird to say, but I’d rather get the first down on third down more than I would want to punt, but when I do have to go in there, I obviously want to help us as much as I can'.”
Punter: Todd Fennell, sophomore (Vero Beach, FL / Vero Beach HS) 
Walk-on who joined the team prior to the 2011 season. 
2012: Did not appear in any games for Florida as a redshirt freshman.
High school:  Had 12 punts inside of the 20 and eight punts inside of the 10 during his senior season at Vero Beach…Averaged 39 yards on 30 punts, with an average hangtime of 4.05 seconds during 2010
Punter: Justin Vogel, freshman (Tampa, FL / Berkeley Prep)
Joined the team in the summer of 2012…Did not see any game action.
High School: Averaged 45 yards per punt throughout his high school career…Played defense along with special teams duties and also tallied three interceptions during his time in high school
Punter: Grant Van Aman, freshman (Tampa, FL / Plant HS)
2013: was charged with DUI while riding a scooter in late June
2012: Did not see any game action and redshirted.
High school: Kicked a school record four field goals in the state semi-finals in 2011 and 11 field goals throughout the season, also a school record
Punter: Johnny Townsend, freshman (Orlando, FL / Boone HS)
Townsend will arrive in the fall. Townsend, out of Orlando's Boone High, was a late addition to the Gators' 2013 recruiting class when he opted to sign with Florida after originally committing to Ohio State.
“(Playing time) was something I thought about a lot, and yes, I'm going to have to sit. But I'm going to have that development period behind one of the top punters in the country. I'm going to miss working with Coach Meyer, but I think this is the right decision in the long run.”
Long snapper: Drew Ferris, junior (Carlsbad, CA / San Diego Jewish Academy)
Enrolled at UF in the summer of 2010…Served as the long snapper for every game in 2011 and for one game in 2012 before an injury ended his season.
"This offseason I have been getting into great physical shape along with getting good work in with our kickers and punter Kyle Christy. Really working on snapping and blocking as well. Trying to get in as much a rhythm with the other guys as possible. My goal for myself is to be perfect on every snap and as a group go out and execute when our number is called and ultimately help win games for our team."
Long snapper: Kyle Crofoot, sophomore (Windemere, FL / The First Academy)
2012: Saw action in all 13 games for the Orange and Blue, but did not record any stats…Was the primary snapper on all field goals, snapping to his older brother, John.

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