UF notebook: Christy doing work

Florida punter Kyle Christy lost his starting role last fall but has a good opportunity to win it back based on his strong play in the spring.

Rob C. Witzel/Staff photographer
Published: Tuesday, April 8, 2014 at 4:16 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, April 8, 2014 at 4:16 p.m.

Punter Kyle Christy, whose early-season slump cost him his starting job last fall, has rebounded nicely this spring and is in a position to win the job back.

Christy has consistently punted well in practice and had another good scrimmage Saturday, UF coach Will Muschamp said Tuesday.

“Kyle Christy punted the ball extremely well, really hit the ball well,” Muschamp said. "Based on Saturday, absolutely (he’s out of his slump). He's had a good spring. He's punted well. His confidence is up and he's done some nice things."

Christy, a Ray Guy finalist in 2012, lost his starting job last season to true freshman Johnny Townsend, who recently underwent wrist surgery and is out for the remainder of the spring. Christy and Townsend were considered in a dead heat this spring before Townsend’s surgery.

Christy wasn’t the only kicker mired in a slump last season. So were the UF field-goal kickers, but Muschamp seems to be feeling better about the situation there now.

In Saturday’s scrimmage Austin Hardin made seven of his nine field goal attempts, while walk-on Frankie Velez was seven-for-eight, with his only miss coming from 46 yards.

“We've made some improvement as far as being more accurate in kicking the football,” Muschamp said.

Driskel on target

Starting quarterback Jeff Driskel continued his strong spring with a good scrimmage performance Saturday, Muschamp said. “I think he had three dropped passes, and his interception should have been (a reception). He’s throwing the ball very accurately.

“We create a lot of run-pass issues, run-pass conflicts I would say for a defense with what we’re doing in the run game and off the passing game. Jeff has done a really good job because that takes quick hands to get the ball from a play-action situation up and out. I think he’s doing extremely well.”

Muschamp said there has been no change behind Driskel. Sophomore Skyler Mornhinweg and true freshman Will Grier continue to compete for the backup role at QB.

“Both guys have done some nice things,” Muschamp said. “Will made a really nice adjustment off a corner pressure and hotted the ball to Andre Debose in the red zone (during the scrimmage). It was a really nice throw. Skyler does some nice things. Both of those guys will continue to get reps with that (No. 2) group.”

Good start for Riles

Muschamp said former defensive tackle Antonio Riles has shown some early potential at offensive guard, the position he was moved to late last week because of a lack of offensive line depth.

“I thought Antonio Riles did some really nice things at guard (in Saturday’s scrimmage),” Muschamp said. “We're going to continue to look at that. He’s very athletic for the position and can get some movement inside. And for a guy that's only been there two days, I was very pleased with what he did.”

Bryan, McCalister coming on

In UF’s quest to build defensive line depth, two young players appear to be emerging at defensive end — true freshman Taven Bryan and redshirt sophomore Alex McCalister.

“Taven Bryan … I’ve been very pleased with where he is,” Muschamp said. “Right now, he's a guy that's really coming on. He's only going to continue to get better. He runs extremely well. He's a good athlete. He's got really good strength. He's one of the stronger defensive linemen as far as just hand strength. If you talk to our offensive linemen, he's a tough guy to deal with as far as that's concerned.

“Alex McCalister probably had his best scrimmage. Alex is a guy that flashed and showed some pass rush for us, played hard and finished some plays.”

Herndon sidelined

Tailback Mark Herndon sustained a high ankle sprain in Saturday’s scrimmage and is expected to miss the rest of the spring.

“No surgery needed, but he will probably miss the end of spring,” Muschamp said.

Outside linebacker Daniel McMillian also sprained an ankle, but his injury is not as serious.

“I’m hoping to get him back today or Thursday. I think we’ll get him back before the spring game,” Muschamp said.

Safety Marcus Maye pulled a hamstring in the scrimmage and is considered day-to-day. Offensive guard Rod Johnson (knee) is still out and his status is uncertain for Saturday’s spring game.

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