Florida begins spring practice today. Over the past two weeks, we’ve looked at the state of each position. In the final chapter of our spring preview, we focus on the kickers and punters. Check the bottom of this page for links to the rest of our positional previews.
Austin Hardin, 5-10, 198, R-Sr.
Neil MacInnes, 6-4, 219, Sr.
Eddy Pineiro, 6-0, 178, R-Fr.
Jorge Powell, 5-10, 166, R-So.
Jon Gould, 6-0, 173, R-Fr.
Johnny Townsend, 6-1, 202, R-Jr.
What to watch for
Keep an eye on new kicker Eddy Pineiro. The Gators need the early enrollee to be the real deal because there’s not much behind him on the roster. It doesn’t help that Neil MacInnes and Jorge Powell are set to miss spring practice with knee injuries. Florida struggled to make field goals last season, making just 9 of 20 field goal attempts. Austin Hardin was the main culprit, missing nine of his 14 field goal attempts last season. So Pineiro will have every chance possible to win the starting job.
We know Pineiro has a strong leg. Viral videos of Pineiro making 70-plus-yard practice field goals turned him into a star recruit. But we don’t know how he’s going to react to kicking in front of 90,000 fans. Pineiro started out as a soccer player and began kicking footballs as a senior in high school. He never had the chance to attempt a field goal in seven games as a high school senior, and never played football while he was at ASA College in North Miami Beach. So Pineiro’s next field goal attempt in a game will be his first ever.
When it comes to the punter position, there aren’t many questions. Johnny Townsend returns as one of the top punters in the country. If Townsend can stay healthy, the Gators are set at that spot.
Eddy Pineiro has the potential to be one of the top kickers in the SEC. He has a strong leg and has built a pretty impressive reputation with his viral kicking videos despite never attempting a field goal in a game. Pineiro is expected to be the Gators’ starting kicker this season.
The Gators are depending on kicker Eddy Pineiro to live up to expectations and cure their kicking woes. Is Pineiro the answer?
“A lot of people are saying I don’t have the experience or they don’t know how I work under pressure. But to be honest with you, when you kick next to Nick Saban kneeling down right next to you in front of 300 other kickers who are trying to take that same spot, I think that’s more pressure than kicking in front of 100,000 people.” — Gators kicker Eddy Pineiro said of the critics pointing to his lack of experience on the football field
GATORS SPRING PREVIEWS