Over the next 97 days, GatorCountry will preview the players that make up the 2013 Florida Gators football team as we inch closer and closer to the season.
Each day we will count down using the player whose jersey number corresponds with how many days there are left until Florida kicks off against Toledo in the Swamp on August 31.
Today we take a look at senior kicker Brad Phillips.
A Gainesville native and Buchholz high school graduate, Phillips was a member of the National Honor Society in high school and played soccer for most of his life before enrolling at the University of Florida in 2010.
Phillips handled kickoff duties as a freshman in five games before a hip injury sidelined him for the rest of the season. As a sophomore, Phillips connected on 2-of-3 field goal tries with a long on 43-yards against Georgia. Last season, as a junior, Phillips missed his only field goal attempt of the season against Missouri.
Career Kickoff Statistics
Phillips is currently battling redshirt freshman Austin Hardin for the right to replace Caleb Sturgis as the Gators’ placekicker.
Despite having spent the majority of the past three seasons on the bench watching Sturgis, Phillips has more experience than Hardin and is currently leading to win the starting job.
Phillips struggled with his accuracy and consistency in the spring, something he will need to work on if he wants to ultimately earn and keep the starting job.
Phillips has an adequately strong leg – Florida won’t trot Phillips out from 50-plus yards like they would regularly do with Caleb Sturgis – and can be accurate from around 46-yards and in. He could also handle kickoff duties this season.
What to Expect
The battle between Phillips and Hardin should have been decided during spring practice. Unfortunately for the coaching staff, neither kicker was able to pull ahead of the other and the kicking competition will continue into the fall.
Phillips has experience on his side – however little experience it may be – and that is a factor that certainly plays in his favor. Phillips has kicked in some big spots for Florida and knows what it is like to kick field goals against SEC competition.
Expect the kicking battle to go into the season undecided and to see both Phillips and Hardin kicking during games until one of them shows the coaching staff enough to be named the outright starter.