GAINESVILLE -- Kyle Christy was a finalist for the Ray Guy Award as the nation’s top punter just one year ago.
Now he’s in a battle for his job.
Florida’s junior is averaging just 39.5 yards per attempt this season -- good for No. 12 in the Southeastern Conference. Christy also fumbled a snap in the win over Tennessee.
Last season, Christy averaged nearly 46 yards per kick as the nation’s No. 5 punter.
“I’m going to open it up with Kyle. Johnny Townsend’s been a guy that’s probably as consistent a punter we’ve had in camp,” coach Will Muschamp said. “We’ll pull the redshirt off Johnny if we need to. We need to get more production at the position.”
Townsend was a late edition to Florida’s 2013 recruiting class, flipping his commitment from Ohio State on National Signing Day.
Muschamp placed the ball strictly in Christy’s court, saying, “We didn’t forget how to coach Kyle from last year.”
BLUE GRASS WELCOMING
Saturday’s game against Kentucky will be a homecoming of sorts for two Florida coaches.
Wide receivers coach Joker Phillips was a four-year letterman at Kentucky and was later the team’s head coach from 2010-12.
“Anytime you spend a lot of time at a place, you have some great memories. I know as a former player and coach there, no question it’s going to be emotional [for him],” coach Will Muschamp said.
Meanwhile, Gators offensive coordinator Brent Pease coached at UK in 2001-02, as its coordinator and quarterbacks coach.
“I’ve got a lot of friends there,” Pease said. “It’s a great place.”
Wideouts Demarcus Robinson and Latroy Pittman will return to action this weekend against the Wildcats.
Pittman, a sophomore, was suspended for Florida’s first three games.
Robinson, a promising true freshman, was suspended for the Tennessee game for violating team rules.
“I just told him every freshman goes through it,” Pease said. “They’ve got to find that pattern of consistency about fitting in. … He understood. Didn’t complain. He’s moved on, so we’ll see how he approaches practice this week.”
Nose tackle Leon Orr (shoulder), right tackle Tyler Moore (ankle) and cornerbacks Loucheiz Purifoy (thigh) and Marcus Roberson (knee) returned to practice Wednesday and are expected to play against Kentucky.
Hybrid tailback Valdez Showers (ankle) remains doubtful.Follow me on Twitter @JesseReSimonton