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)

Improbable punter Kyle Christy puts Florida Gators in good position

GAINESVILLE — The way Kyle Christy recalls it, there was never really a request, more like a statement of fact. The punter at Brownsburg (Ind.) High was graduating and the Bulldogs desperately needed a replacement.

Coach Brett Comer decided Christy was his guy.

He had never punted in his life, but Christy was a football player who had also played soccer. And, frankly, he was the best option at the time.

"After my sophomore year he told me, 'We're going to need you to punt next year,' " Christy said. "So I worked with a lot of coaches (during the summer) and watched a lot of film. And I taught myself how to punt."

Four years later, Christy, now Florida's punter, has transformed into one of the nation's best.

The sophomore leads the SEC with a 46.5-yard average on 24 punts for 1,115 yards. Nine of his punts have been more than 50 yards. He ranks fifth in the nation.

"He's had a tremendous impact on our football team," Gators coach Will Muschamp said. "When we went to Tennessee, early in the game we get pinned back inside our 5-yard line and he punts it all the way back to their 30. His leg and him being able to flip the field and control the vertical field position has been critical to our success this season and why we are where we are. He is an outstanding punter."

Though he was ranked the No. 2 punter in the nation by coming out of high school, Christy's college options were limited. He attended numerous camps, hoping to showcase his talent to coaches. In the end, his only offers were from Florida and LSU.

"LSU offered me at the beginning of the summer, and Florida's camp wasn't until the end of the summer," Christy said. "So after I got the LSU offer, I kind of crossed off a bunch of camps that I was planning on going to. I showed up here, did really well. And Urban (Meyer) was still here, and he offered me (a scholarship) about a week later."

Against LSU last week, Christy pinned the Tigers inside their 10-yard line on three of his four punts in the first half, including a season-long 61 yarder. He also has punts of 51, 53 and 57 yards. He is making life easier for the entire team.

"I think he's done a terrific job," defensive coordinator Dan Quinn said. "Anytime you can change field position like he can with the big hit like he's had at times this year, especially when you're backed up, I think those are the (best) punts he's had. … He has been a valuable performer for us."

"I know he's in the back of our mind," offensive coordinator Brent Pease added. "Sometimes, like (against LSU), when it's third and 17, I said, 'Hey, let's get 5 to 8 yards and let him flip the field. He's a weapon."

Christy's success hasn't come overnight. He didn't earn the starting job until five games into the 2011 season. He's on his third long snapper. And he spent countless hours in the offseason perfecting his technique.

"I kind of struggled with operation time last year," he said. "I was a little slow with my hands. Coach (D.J.) Durkin (special teams) and Coach Muschamp were always getting on me about it and during the offseason I worked a lot on that. I changed my drop a little bit, and I also just caught a bunch of snaps, and using the Jugs Machine I worked on catching balls over and over and over, getting my drop right."

With quarterback Jeff Driskel as his roommate, Christy is acutely aware of the attention offensive stars garner. Sheepishly, he admits he's enjoying his now.

"It's kind of cool to get that recognition," he said. "I like when I get a lot of the credit, and it feels good to help the team out."

Antonya English can be reached at

Improbable punter Kyle Christy puts Florida Gators in good position 10/12/12 [Last modified: Friday, October 12, 2012 10:43pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Ronde Barber: Want intimidation? Look at past Bucs teams


    Ronde Barber says these days "it's hard to find throwbacks, where you go, 'That guy is a badass.' Where do you find that now? It's such a show-off sport." (Times 2012)
  2. Rays blow lead in ninth, lose in 10 to Rangers (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Rays manager Kevin Cash liked the way Alex Cobb was competing Friday night. He liked the way the hard contact made by the Rangers batters went away after the second or third inning. So as the game headed toward the ninth, there was no doubt in Cash's mind that sending Cobb back to the mound was …

    Rays starter Alex Cobb can hardly believe what just happened as he leaves the game in the ninth after allowing a leadoff double then a tying two-run homer to the Rangers’ Shin-Soo Choo.
  3. Rays journal: Steven Souza Jr. gets extra day off to let hip heal

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — RF Steven Souza Jr. ran in rightfield before batting practice under the watchful gaze of the Rays training staff and manager Kevin Cash. Afterward, Souza told Cash he could use one more day of rest before playing on the left hip he strained Wednesday in Oakland.

    Steven Souza Jr., hugging Mallex Smith after Smith’s solo home run in the eighth inning, feels relief after tests are negative on his injured hip.
  4. Rays vs. Rangers, 7:10 p.m. Saturday, Tropicana Field

    The Heater

    Tonight: vs. Rangers

    7:10, Tropicana Field

    TV/radio: FS1; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)