I am relatively new here, and I just wanted to chime in on the kicking situation after getting a chance to see their progress in the opening practices.
First, I want to clarify that I believe Austin Hardin is separating himself as starting kicker, not just in ability but in his number of team 1 reps. He leg strength never was an issue coming in, even Phillips has decent range (able to his from 45-50). The main problem with the situation is that none of the kickers have strong consistency or fluidity in their motions. This is all coming from a former high school kicker (finished 3rd team all-state for Florida 2010 for credibility), and although I have only played two years of football after being a soccer player the rest of my life, I've learned a great deal of kicking mechanics
Hardin seems to mix up his steps in his approach frequently which leads to a mishit and thus less power in a quick spinning ball or hooking left or right, mostly left with him being a right footed kicker. This is an easy fix that will just take more reps and practice to build a new routine. He has just yet to find his comfort zone when it comes to his approach. I'd say, based on the practice today, he was hitting roughly 3 of every 5 FGs which really won't cut it once the season starts. I do think that Hardin is very close to being a fairly reliable kicker with a strong consistent leg as he continues to work out his kinks in his approach and follow through. He will improve throughout the season, likely in a similar manner to Caleb Sturgis his freshman year. There is a reason Hardin was a highly touted All-American kicking recruit, his potential, and he appears to be progressing nicely on his way to reaching a peak.
Brad Phillips can prove to be a viable backup, if deals with his issues which are similar to Hardin's. He seems to be struggling a bit more to work through however. As has been referred to in press conferences this fall camp, the preferred walk-on kicker Danny Krysalka has received some praise from Muschamp for his ability as a kicker. Krysalka will essentially be battling with Brad Phillips for the back-up kicker job. He also showed some ability to hit longer field goals, while also showing the ability to skim the ground while swinging through, drastically reducing accuracy and power. He and Phillips have both shown signs of decent kicking ability but lack any kind of consistency.
Overall, Hardin has created a sizeable gap in the depth chart at kicker, which seems to be starting to resemble the kicker situation following Sturgis's enrollment. If Hardin goes down this year, it could bring a rise to memories of 2011.