Florida head coach Dan Mullen is known to place a heavy emphasis on the importance of special teams. Many deem them the least important part of a football team, but in truth they’re incredibly important. Here’s a breakdown of what the Gators have to offer in that department:
Gators’ kicker Evan McPherson is a standout in the Gator football program. Last year he went 17 for 19 on field goal attempts and 50 for 50 on extra point attempts. His 89.5% field goal percentage helped him to total 101 points for the season to lead the team. The stability at the kicker position should continue to be a defining aspect of the Gators’ success.
Punter Tommy Townsend did his fair share by contributing 14 punts over 50 yards and averaging 45.4 yards per punt. Last year he secured a semifinal spot for the Ray Guy award, which is given to the nation’s best collegiate punter. His efforts also net him a second-team ALL-SEC nod.
UF’s kicking teams allowed just under 20 yards per return this season.
Without the efforts of McPherson and Townsend Florida’s 10-3 record may have looked a bit different.
Probable Depth Chart
Dan Mullen had some comments about his special teams unit:
“Our specialists guys are pretty good. I feel comfortable with our kickers and our punters and our returners. I feel pretty comfortable with those guys, and they have experience. To me, it’s filling in all the other pieces where you’ve lost guys. And we did lose a bunch on special teams. We lost a bunch of starters on special teams. There’s 88 starting positions on the football team. That’s an interesting way to look at it, right? There’s offense, defense, punt, punt return, kickoff, kickoff return, field goal, field goal block. There’s 88 starting spots, and we did lose a bunch of starters if you look at the 88 starting positions.”
Don’t be surprised if the Gators win a game due to special teams play this season. The coaching staff has the kickers and playmakers in the return game ready to make a huge impact this year.