- Mike DiRocco, ESPN Staff Writer
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Editor’s note: Each day between now and Florida’s Allstate Sugar Bowl date with Louisville, GatorNation will review the season for a key Gators player and attempt to project what’s next. Today we’ll look at P Kyle Christy.
46.1 yard average, 25 punts of 50 or more yards
Role in 2012: Christy won the job in the second half of the 2011 season and continued his development in 2012. He turned out to be a vital part of UF’s turnaround.
The good: Because of the offensive limitations, coach Will Muschamp leaned on Christy as a field position weapon. Christy flipped the field again and again, putting 26 punts inside opponents' 20-yard line. He came up big and big games, too: he averaged 49.1 yards on seven punts and put three inside the 10-yard line against LSU and averaged 54.3 yards on seven punts against South Carolina. He is currently sixth nationally in average per punt, and if that holds through the Sugar Bowl, it would be a UF single-season record. He was a finalist for the Ray Guy Award, which annually goes to the nation’s top punter.
The bad: There’s really not much to say here. He did have one punt blocked, but that was because of a breakdown in the protection by DT Omar Hunter. Christy worked pretty hard between the 2011 and 2012 seasons on his mechanics and speeding up his timing. He’ll continue to try and improve there.
Crystal ball: Christy has two more years to play and appears on his way to becoming one of the best punters in Southeastern Conference history. It’s kind of amazing the run of punters the Gators have had since 2003: Eric Wilbur (2003-06), Chas Henry (2007-10) and now Christy. He fits in with the way Muschamp wants to build his program: run the ball, play field position, win with defense.