Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Francisco Velez embraces Gators' kicking job

BATON ROUGE, La. — The last time Francisco Velez kicked a field goal in an actual game was during a state championship game at Ocala Trinity Prep in 2010.

On Saturday afternoon in front of more than 90,000 at LSU's Tiger Stadium, Velez, a walk-on, kicked field goals of 44 and 27 yards — the first of his college career — in Florida's 17-6 loss to the Tigers.

He took over for kicker Austin Hardin, who has struggled this season (4-of-8).

"I've been waiting for years, and I've been working hard and finally got my opportunity," said Velez, who until Saturday watched the Gator games at home with his parents and girlfriend. "I wasn't nervous. I was more nervous on the second one because the crowd had gotten so loud. But I wasn't nervous on the first one."

Velez, a redshirt junior, was at practice Thursday afternoon when Gators coach Will Muschamp told him he'd make the trip to Baton Rouge.

Then Florida special teams coach Jeff Choate informed him just before the game that he would be the kicker.

"I was happy, but it was a little unbelievable," Velez said.

Muschamp said Velez has earned the starting job.

JONES OUT, AGAIN: Former Armwood High standout and Florida RB Matt Jones is missing action again. Jones sustained an injury to his left knee, and Muschamp said he will be evaluated today. The severity was unknown after the game. Jones missed all of preseason camp and the first two weeks of the season with a viral infection.

TAYLOR'S TURN: Freshman RB Kelvin Taylor has been waiting patiently for his chance to play, and he made the best of his opportunity on Saturday. Taylor, the son of former Florida star and longtime Jacksonville Jaguars running back Fred Taylor, had 10 carries for 52 yards, including a long of 14 yards.

ABOUT THAT PUNT: With 1:23 remaining in the first half and the Gators trailing 14-3, Florida QB Tyler Murphy showed off some of his old high school skills with a 36-yard punt that pinned the Tigers on their own 1-yard-line.

"It's just a little trick we have," Murphy said. "Coach Muschamp called it, and I just wanted to give our guys a chance to pin them down. I punted a little bit in high school, so I've done it before."

BITTERSWEET HOMECOMING: It was a tough homecoming for Gators DL Damien Jacobs, a native of Gibson, La. Jacobs missed part of the game after he was tackled without his helmet and suffered a laceration.

"It was good to be home and have so many people here for me, my family and friends, but it would have been better if we had won," Jacobs said.

DID YOU KNOW: Florida failed to score a touchdown against LSU for the first time since 1979. It was also the first time in its past 10 games Florida hasn't scored a touchdown, dating to a 17-9 loss to Georgia last season.

Antonya English can be reached at

Francisco Velez embraces Gators' kicking job 10/12/13 [Last modified: Saturday, October 12, 2013 10:22pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Jameis Winston's subtle but strong moment of leadership displayed on 'Hard Knocks'


    Quarterback Jameis Winston went to each teammate in the locker room prior to the Bucs' preseason opener Friday at Cincinnati with one message: 'I got your back.'

    Then he proved it.

    Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston throws during the first half of the team's preseason NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Friday in Cincinnati. [AP photo]
  2. Bucs Cannon Fodder podcast: Highlights — and fights — from Jacksonville


    Greg Auman is back home after two days of joint practices between the Bucs and Jaguars in Jacksonville. He recaps those practices — and fights — and talks about highlights from Tuesday's episode …

    Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Kenneth Walker, right, cannot snag a pass against Bucs cornerback Ryan Smith during a joint NFL football practice Monday in Jacksonville. [Will Dickey/Florida Times-Union]
  3. Who's No. 2: Florida State Seminoles or Ohio State Buckeyes?


    The toughest decision in my first stint as a voter for the AP Top 25 came at the top.

  4. Rays morning after: The real reasons behind Tuesday's win over Blue Jays


    Scoring six runs was the big news for the offensively challenged Rays in Tuesday's victory over the Blue Jays.

    Corey Dickerson (10) celebrates Tuesday's victory with Steven Souza Jr. (20) and Peter Bourjos (18).
  5. Jones: Roberto Aguayo getting the boot was star of Tuesday's 'Hard Knocks'


    TAMPA — Roberto gets cut.

    That was the big story line heading into the second episode of HBO's Hard Knocks, the behind-the-scenes look at Bucs training camp. In fact, it was one of the most anticipated story lines Hard Knocks has had in years.

    Roberto Aguayo watches one of his final kicks Friday for the Bucs.