Letting Phillips Kick was Right Move

Despite the near apoplexy in some corners of South Florida, Urban Meyer did the right thing letting Jonathan Phillips kick a field goal in the final minute of Florida's 26-3 win over the Miami Hurricanes.

In fact, since the point spread on the game fluctuated between 21 and 22½ points, my guess is much of the criticism comes from those who bet on Miami plus the spread and saw their money go flying through the goal posts.

I don't particularly care to join in the debate as to whether a late field goal is running it up or if taking a knee when in scoring position is insulting and condescending. The bottom line is this; no Gator kicker on the current roster had ever made a field goal before that boot. With SEC play starting in a week, the Gators were wise to seize the opportunity to get out of the way.

Phillips is not a young guy. In fact, he's a senior. But his career totaled about 100 kickoffs, 16 extra points and now 1-for-2 field goals. He certainly had no problems with Meyer's decision.

"I was really excited to get out there and hit it. It's obviously the first time I got to do that in a game. I wasn't thinking about that (the time on the clock) at all. I just assumed that if we didn't score (a TD) we were going to kick a field goal. I was already getting warmed up the drive before that so I was ready to go."

Phillips is aware that Miami head coach Randy Shannon had issues with the Gators kicking for points in that situation.

"Yeah, I heard he didn't appreciate it too much. If you just think about it I've never kicked a field goal in a game and we're going to Tennessee. It's definitely something important that needed to be done before we got there so I'm definitely glad I got that rep."

Phillips won the kicking job in a long, drawn out competition with freshman Caleb Sturgis while the rookie has taken over as the kickoff man for the Gators. Phillips says winning the job wasn't easy.

"It was tough. Caleb is really good and we went through spring and went through fall and it was really close the whole time. I just concentrated on what I had to do and just tried to make every field goal in practice."

Jonathan Phillips waited a long time to finally put a three-pointer through the uprights as a Gator. And unless he gets a chance to kick a game winner later this season, his first boot might be the most famous field goal in recent years.


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