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4 posts from October 14, 2013

October 14, 2013


GAINESVILLE -- In 2012, Kyle Christy was an All-American and Ray Guy Award finalist. Now he’s No. 22 Florida’s second-string punter.

Following weeks of poor production, the junior has been officially benched in favor of freshman Johnny Townsend.

“We need to make a change there,” coach Will Muschamp said, who attributed Christy’s issues to mental fatigue.

“It's very frustrating, as much for him as it is for as it is anyone,” Muschamp said. “It's not from a lack of work or a lack of trying to get things right. There's no question about that. It's just a matter of him working through this and us continuing to try and search for answers. If you continue to do the same things, you're going to get the same results."


It’s been a mystifying fall from grace for Christy, who averaged nearly 46 yards per kick with 27 punts inside opponents’ 20-yard line as the nation’s No. 5 punter last season. 

This year, the junior is 13th in the SEC in net punting at just 39.6 yards per kick. In Saturday’s loss to LSU, Christy failed to pin LSU deep twice inside its 20-yard line -- the final straw for Muschamp.

Townsend was a late edition to Florida’s 2013 recruiting class, flipping his commitment from Ohio State on National Signing Day.


“We've looked at his swing and different things and we've tried to continue to, we've looked at all those things. We've tried to make some corrections as far as his drop is concerned, as far as the placement is concerned, as far as the swing is concerned. And you know, it comes to a point where we've got to see some production, and right now we're just not getting it. I think Kyle's going to be fine. We just need to work through this time.”


Muschamp is uncertain about redshirt junior linebacker Ronald Powell’s (ankle) status for the Missouri game. Powell was hurt late in the loss to LSU and Muschamp said he “hopes to get him back for Wednesday’s practice.”

Follow me on Twitter @JesseReSimonton

Gators offense disappoints defense once again

Before Matt Jones' injury was announced Monday morning, I took Florida's offense to task for letting down a championship-caliber defense. Again.

Jones' injury makes matters even more difficult for an already anemic unit, but losing widouts Trey Burton, Solomon Patton or Quinton Dunbar would've be a more signifcant loss considering the uncertainty of the freshman receivers. But alas, losing a starting tailback (especially for pass protection) is another burden the Gators must overcome. 

ICYMI: A tease... 

BATON ROUGE, La -- Deep in the noisy bowls of Tiger Stadium, Gators linebacker Michael Taylor was in no mood to point fingers following No. 22 Florida’s 17-6 loss to No. 6 LSU.

“We didn't hold them enough,” the junior said.

“That's the bottom line.”

Is it though?

Florida’s defense -- ranked No. 2 nationally in total defense entering Saturday’s showdown -- limited a potent Tigers offense to a season-low 327 yards and 17 points. LSU gunslinger Zach Mettenberger completed just nine passes for 152 yards with zero touchdowns and one inexplicable fumble.

The Gators’ defensive line struggled to get off blocks and slow down LSU tailback Jeremy Hill (121 yards), but the unit surrendered just 17 points in a hostile environment.   

It wasn’t enough though. Again.

Despite holding a conference opponent under 20 points for the 13th consecutive game, Florida lost for the fourth time in the Will Muschamp era when its suffocating defense yielded 17 points or less.

In all four losses -- including Saturday against LSU -- the Gators have scored zero touchdowns and totaled just 33 points.

“We didn’t create enough explosives down the field and a lot of that was we couldn’t get rid of the football,” Muschamp said. “We were under duress as far as pressure is concerned. There’s no question it’s a huge concern as we move forward.”

The Gators waltzed into Death Valley with their efficiently dull offense, but their methodical attack was no match against a young, fast and aggressive LSU defense.

Florida -- especially its offensive line -- wilted facing LSU’s relentless pressure, conceding four sacks, eight tackles for loss and six registered quarterback hurries... 

As for some stats and tidbits that weren't included in the story...

* Before Saturday's game, LSU's defense allowed 5.40 yards per play  -- including consecutive games of 7+ yards per play. Florida averaged just 3.53 y/p in the loss. 

* The Tigers' young secondary had surrendered 29 passing plays of at least 15+ yards. The Gators attempted just A SINGLE pass of more than 15 yards in the air all game. 

* Florida didn't reach the redzone until the fourth quarter. 

* The Gators ran the ball on 17-of-24 first down snaps. They averaged 4.5 yards a rush on first down, but just 2.5 yards a pass on seven first down throws. 

Follow me on Twitter @JesseReSimonton

The Walking Wounded: Jones out for the year

This is getting ridiculous. Cue Queen...


GAINESVILLE -- No. 22 Florida continues to be decimated by injuries. UF’s latest causality is starting tailback Matt Jones -- who tore the meniscus in his left knee in the loss to LSU and is out for the season after undergoing surgery Monday morning.

“We thought it was a sprain in the knee, it turns out it was a torn meniscus,” coach Will Muschamp said. “I hate it for Matt. He's a great young man, to go through what he's been through this fall, missing all of, most of, fall camp. Working his way back in shape and starting to feel good about himself, as far as how he felt physically, mentally and then to have this setback is just disheartening for all of us.”

(Courtesy Columbiadailyherald.com)

The preseason all-conference tailback rushed for 339 yards and two touchdowns in five starts after missing UF’s season-opener battling a serious viral infection.  

Jones tallied four carries on Florida’s opening drive against LSU -- the final run his last of the year after getting rolled up on close to Florida’s sideline.

The sophomore is unlikely to be cleared for a medical redshirt, but Muschamp was unsure of the specifics.

Redshirt junior Mack Brown (340 yards, 3 touchdowns) and highly-regarded freshman Kelvin Taylor (98 yards on 16 carries) will spilt carries moving forward.

In all, it’s another setback for the Gators, as Jones is the fifth starter -- and seventh player overall -- lost to a season-ending injury: Jones, quarterback Jeff Driskel (fibula), defensive tackle Dominique Easley (knee), right tackle Chaz Green (shoulder) and kick returner/wideout Andre Debose (knee).

Follow me on Twitter @JesseReSimonton

Poll Position: A terrible tumble

GAINESVILLE -- For the first time all season, Florida is no longer considered one of the 20 best teams in the country. 

The Gators (4-2, 3-1 SEC) slid five spots in both the Associated Press top 25 and USA Today coaches poll, falling to No. 22 nationally after their 17-6 loss to LSU on Saturday in Tiger Stadium.   

The road doesn't get any easier this weekend, as Florida travels to Columbia for a pivotal SEC Eastern Division showdown with No. 14 (and undefeated) Missouri (12:00 p.m. ET, ESPN). The Gators finish the season with four of their final six games against teams currently ranked inside the top 15. 

Follow me on Twitter @JesseReSimonton

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