Christy a weapon for UF

Florida punter Kyle Christy boots the ball against Kentucky during the second half at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on Sept. 22. Florida defeated Kentucky 38-0.

Matt Stamey/Staff photographer
Published: Friday, October 12, 2012 at 4:24 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, October 12, 2012 at 7:36 p.m.

Florida sophomore Kyle Christy is the No. 1 punter in the SEC.

In his sophomore year of high school, he wasn't even playing the position.

Christy's primary sport growing up was soccer, and he eventually started place-kicking in a youth football league and remained there throughout his early teens. But at the end of his sophomore season at Brownsburg High School in Brownsburg, Ind., Christy was approached by head coach Brett Comer about a job opening.

“Our starting punter was a senior and he graduated, so just after my sophomore year he told me we're gonna need you to punt next year,” Christy said. “At some point, my coach was like, ‘hey, you're looking pretty good out there. You might want to stick to this.'

“I took that to heart. I've given my high school coach so much credit for me getting a scholarship, because he's the one who made me start punting in the first place.”

During his junior year, Christy said he taught himself how to punt by watching film. He then went to summer camps at LSU and Florida, where he earned the only two scholarship offers he would receive during his recruitment. The Florida camp and offer came after LSU's and Christy committed a week later to the Gators.

“Most (punters) get a big offer and then they get a bunch of small school offers. But that didn't happen to me at all,” Christy said. “I kind of crossed off a bunch of camps that I was planning on going to (because) I knew I wouldn't go there over LSU. Florida was actually the only camp left, so I kind of showed up here and did really well. And I liked it here better."

In his freshman year at UF, Christy struggled with his operation time and sat behind senior punter David Lerner for the first six games of the 2011 season. With Florida coach Will Muschamp and special teams coordinator D.J. Durkin on his case, Christy worked on getting his operation time down to two seconds.

"Coach Durkin and coach Muschamp were always getting on me about it," Christy said. "During the offseason I worked a lot on it. I changed my drop a little bit and I also just caught a bunch of snaps (from) jugs machines.

"There's a lot of hours of just, sounds really boring, just catching balls and dropping a ball to myself over and over. But that's what it takes to be consistent with it."

Things began clicking for Christy in the spring and it's carried over into this season. He's become a “weapon” for offensive coordinator Brent Pease because he can bail out the offense by flipping the field on bad drives.

Christy currently ranks fourth in the nation and first in the SEC in punting, averaging 46.5 yards per punt.

“He changed the field four times (against LSU) and backed them up,” said sophomore quarterback Jeff Driskel, Christy's roommate. “He had good hang time on those punts. That's huge to be able to back a team up, because with our defense, it's going to be hard to get a 90-yard drive. So he's doing a really good job.”

Christy said he's punting the best he ever has and takes a lot of pride in his job.

“Coach Muschamp puts a lot of importance on field position and special teams,” Christy said. “I like when I get a lot of credit and it feels good to help the team out. It's kind of what my goals were to do and I just got to keep at it.”

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