UF notebook

Gators go with walk-on kicker Francisco Velez — for now

 
 
University of Florida kicker Austin Hardin kicks off against the Tennessee Volunteers at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville on Sept. 21, 2013.
University of Florida kicker Austin Hardin kicks off against the Tennessee Volunteers at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville on Sept. 21, 2013.
Al Messerschmidt / Getty Images

Miami Herald Writer

Coach Will Muschamp praised redshirt junior kicker Francisco Velez, and reiterated the walk-on would be No. 22 Florida’s starting placekicker moving forward — as long as Velez continues to produce in practice.

“I’m very proud of Frankie and the job he did coming in, giving us some consistency. Now he’s got to continue to do it, week in and week out,” Muschamp said. “We’ll move forward with the guys that perform the best.”

Velez was a perfect 2-of-2 on his first career attempts, drilling a 44-yarder in the 17-6 loss to LSU to give the Gators an early 3-0 lead. Later, he connected on a 27-yard kick.

UF has also used Austin Hardin and Brad Phillips for its place-kicking opportunities.

“We kind of opened the competition the last two weeks and the numbers speak for themselves,” Muschamp explained. “This past week Frankie’s numbers were the best and so we gave him the opportunity. I told him on game day, ‘We’re going to kick you today, let’s go and do a good job.’ And he did.”

THIS & THAT

Redshirt junior linebacker Ronald Powell (ankle) is questionable for Saturday’s game at Missouri. … Freshman tailback Kelvin Taylor is now listed as UF’s second-string tailback on the depth chart. … After going 4-0 on the road last season, Florida is just 1-2 away from The Swamp in 2013.

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