Christy flips field for Florida

In a helmet and his No. 4 jersey, Florida punter Kyle Christy is seen on the field as the game changer and received multiple ovations for it on Saturday. He flips field position with his long, towering punts that are often caught over the shoulder of the punt returner. Off the field, he's only recognizable as quarterback Jeff Driskel's roommate. That's how the nation's leading punter likes it.

"Nobody really comes up and talks to me," Kyle Christy said. "I'm roommates with Jeff (Driskel), so a lot of times I'll just be hanging out with him, and he'll get recognize. I never do."

That might be changing soon.

Christy took over the national lead in punting after with his seven-punt performance against South Carolina. The shortest punt went 51 yards. The longest? A career-high 62 yards.

"What a game changer," Florida head coach Will Muschamp said. "What a field position change—to have a guy like that and a weapon like that."

The seven punts went for an average of 54.3 yards. When the updated NCAA statistics came out on Sunday, Christy was sitting alone at the top. On his 36 punts this year, Christy is averaging 47.9 yards.

The improvement came with a change. Christy was slow and methodical as a freshman and didn't win the starting job because of it. David Lerner won the job out of fall camp in 2011, but Christy continued to work in the offseason.

"Last year, I struggled with operation time and getting used to getting the ball off faster," Christy said. "I wasn't comfortable moving that fast and didn't punt as good when I tried to hurry too much. I worked on it in the offseason and got a lot more comfortable."

The challenge was increased on Saturday. South Carolina punt returner Ace Sanders came into the game second in the country in total punt yardage and had multiple highlight returns early in the year. The Florida special teams put extra work into it over the week.

"Coach Durkin made sure we emphasized getting down there in coverage and getting more hang time on the ball so he couldn't get any returns," Christy said.

That's exactly what happened. The Gators held Sanders to five punt return yards and forced him to fumble once.

"Our coverage units were outstanding," Muschamp said. "Those guys do an outstanding job."


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