One-on-one with Iowa punter Tory Taylor

The Aussie special teamer spoke with Daily Iowan football Reporter Chris Werner at Iowa Football Media Day in August.


Shivansh Ahuja

Iowa punter Tory Taylor kicks the ball during a football game between Iowa and Michigan State in Kinnick Stadium on Saturday, Nov. 7, 2020. The Hawkeyes dominated the Spartans, 49-7.

Chris Werner, Sports Reporter

Daily Iowan Football Reporter Chris Werner spoke with Iowa punter Tory Taylor during a 1-on-1 interview at Iowa football Media Day in August.

Below is a transcript of their conversation, where Taylor discusses how he’s adjusted to Iowa, his NFL hopes, and his favorite cereal.

This interview has been lightly edited for clarity.

The Daily Iowan: Obviously, you had a lot of success last season. What are you working on this offseason, and how much better do you think you can be next year?

Tory Taylor: I mean, I wouldn’t say there’s really a ceiling on anything for anyone on the team. I know obviously last year things were obviously different with COVID-19. I know, for me, I kind of got here in late August, I was kind of still finding my bearings, and then the season came around and it all happened pretty quickly. Everyone’s just trying to improve every day, I know it’s a cliche saying but that’s really just the truth. Everyone’s working really hard, like camp’s been a really important stepping stone for me and I’m sure everyone else because, I think it was spring ball, coach Ferentz said, ‘Put your hand up if you’ve never done a spring ball’ and I don’t know how many but the majority of the team put their hand up just because last year spring ball didn’t happen. So, this was really the first spring ball for me and first summer and winter conditioning, as well, back in January and February, so everyone’s just working really hard to get better. I know, for me and the rest of the specialists, we’re doing everything we can and just adding little things here or there just to help us get better so we’re all really excited for the season.

DI: Just talking about special teams in general, and obviously, you and Ryan [Gersonde] are both from Australia, is there kind of a brotherhood within the specialists?

Taylor: Absolutely, I mean, there’s 10 of us and we’re all really close. You’ll find that everyone on the team is really close, like, it’s just a massive brotherhood. I’ve never really been anywhere else but I can’t imagine that anyone’s as close as we are. And in terms of the specialists, we’re all really close. No one thinks that they’re better than anyone else, everyone’s trying to push one another. No matter what happens. So yeah, there’s a really strong brotherhood happening in the special teams room at the moment and I mean, the stats don’t lie, it’s a stats game, special teams here has been a major component for success in the last few years and that’s really just a massive credit to coach [LeVar] Woods.

DI: Last season, we touched on this already, you had a lot of success, did you expect that? I would assume you didn’t really expect anything because your first American football game was at Purdue.

Taylor: [The awards and accolades] really don’t mean anything to me. No disrespect to anyone else, but I really just play for my family and my teammates and my coaches because they’re the ones close to me and they’re the ones that I guess I’m trying to make proud of me. Obviously, all the Hawkeye fans and, like yourself as well, all the media guys also mean a lot to all of us and we really appreciate it but yeah, like I said, I play for my family and play for my friends and all my teammates. All that success, I feel like, if you start worrying about that, it never really happens.

DI: Going back to the spring ball, is it safe to say you’re not going to kick a ball off the ground again?

Taylor: Yeah, now I know you can’t. I don’t think that’ll be happening.

DI: If you weren’t a punter and you were on offense or defense, what position would you play?

Taylor: Oh, see a lot of people say, ‘Oh you’re built like a tight end or you’re built like a linebacker,’ so I’d say one of those. But, honestly, I wouldn’t really know what’s happening most of the time so I can promise you, I won’t be stepping foot on the field as a linebacker or a tight end.

DI: Do you maybe see the NFL in your future, and do you look up to any people in that league?

Taylor: Absolutely. There’s guys that I chat to quite regularly in the NFL and that’s obviously the end goal but, I mean, the NFL is not going to define me as a person or anything like that. I know they say the NFL is not for long, so I know that’s not gonna be my entire life, and there’s so much more important things in my life than just football. Not so much at the moment because that’s my main priority, obviously school and football, but like I said, like, the most important things to me are my friends and family.

DI: Guilty pleasure song, food, and TV show?

Taylor: I like “I’m Still Standing” by Elton John. I like a lot of the Chicago shows like Chicago Fire and things like that. I’m more of a crime and action type of person. Favorite food? Probably steak and fries.

DI: Get some Ketchup on there?

Taylor: Absolutely, well I call it tomato sauce, but yeah.

DI: One Australian thing that you think they should have over here, and one thing that you’ve seen over here that you want back in Australia?

Taylor: Oh, meat pies, I would really love a meat pie. It’s like an apple pie but it’s got like beef mince in it and some ketchup. I’d love to have that over here. And in terms of things that I wish were back home in Australia, definitely the cereal. I’m a big cereal person.

DI: Favorite cereal?

Taylor: Cinnamon Toast Crunch. No doubt about it.