Thursday, May 23, 2013
Gator Breakdown: Kyle Christy
By Michael DiRocco
During the summer, GatorNation will analyze each of the scholarship players on the Florida roster -- excluding the Gators’ 2013 recruiting class -- in our Gator Breakdown series. Starting with No. 1Quinton Dunbar we will go through the roster numerically, finishing with No. 97 Brad Phillips.
Expectations for 2013: Christy set the bar pretty high in 2012. He was a finalist for the Ray Guy Award after leading the SEC and finishing fifth in the nation with a 45.8 average. More importantly, he put 27 of his 66 punts (41 percent) inside the 20-yard line, which made him a field-position weapon. The Gators need him to have similar success this fall, especially if the passing offense continues to struggle. His average doesn’t matter as much as his ability to flip the field and pin opponents deep in their own territory. Though he didn’t punt at all during the spring because of a shoulder injury, Christy is expected to be cleared for full participation in August practices.
Kyle Christy has the leg to be a big field-position weapon for the Gators.
Best-cast scenario for 2013: Christy can help the Gators overcome issues in the passing game by continually flipping the field. He has shown he has a big leg -- he averaged an SEC single-game record with his 54.3-yard average against South Carolina -- and can bail the Gators out of bad field position, too. When your team is built on defense and special teams, which are certainly UF’s strengths, a good punter is invaluable.
Worst-case scenario for 2013: Christy is really the only option the Gators have. Justin Vogel and Todd Fennell really struggled during the spring. Christy was never in danger of losing his job, but there might be some concerns over his mechanics because the staff hasn’t wanted him to do much due to his shoulder. He may be a little rusty early in the season but should regain his form by October.
Future impact: Christy is another in a long line of very good punters the Gators have had, dating back to Eric Wilbur in 2003. He’s good insurance for an offense that continues to evolve because of a lack of consistency at wide receiver and a dearth of playmakers. Having him for two more seasons is a luxury most programs don’t have.