Iowa punter Tory Taylor capped his junior season in impressive fashion, punting eight times for a 48.3 average during the 21-0 victory over Kentucky in the Music City Bowl.
Taylor also had six of his eight punts downed inside the 20-yard line, and he said afterwards that he would return to Iowa for his senior season.
Here is Taylor’s post-game press conference transcript:
TORY TAYLOR: It was pretty fun, wasn’t it?
Q. I think you had six punts inside the 15 yard line. Did today feel like a really good day for you punting? Do you feel like everything you were wanting to accomplish you did, and you felt good physically, all that sort of thing?
TORY TAYLOR: I think to answer that question, I was kind of joking around with a couple of the guys. I’m, like, it’s January tomorrow. Is this what it’s like in the SEC every time? It’s kind of funny how the weather can just play a really big role I guess in your mindset. I know there’s not really anything that you can do in terms of that, but when the weather is nice, it certainly gives you a better degree of confidence. Yeah, it was just a good day overall, and it was really happy with my performance because I feel like this year I’ve really probably let myself down and the team down in a couple of games, so it was kind of just good to go back out there and just let loose and have fun.
Q. DeJean gave you give for his success. How important is it for you as a punter to have.
TORY TAYLOR: It’s Cooper DeJean. He is good at everything, honestly. He is probably good at Australian football, and he has never played it.
Really lucky to have guys like him and Jamison Heinz and Terry Roberts who is obviously no longer with us. Really grateful for those guys this year and last year, and Deavin Hilson stepped in this year as well, and Koen Entringer, and the rest of the punt unit. I’ve been with Turner Pallissard and part Louis Stec for a couple of years now, and there’s a lot of guys on the punt unit that I’ve had since I’ve got here and really grateful. I probably said it a few times in the past. Those guys on the punt unit want to be on the punt unit, and that’s something that we really cherish a lot here at Iowa, just the impact of special teams. But to go back to your original question, really lucky to have someone like Cooper DeJean. You guys can see what he can do when he is on the field. Really happy to have him on the punt unit, and moving forward hope he certainly stays.
Q. Before the game a bunch of kids were standingbehind you, and they were just oohing and awing. Idon’t know if that’s specifically aboutyou or if it’s justwatching a punter kick the ball like you do. What’s thatlike gathering a crowd of young players watching are you?
TORY TAYLOR: They certainly don’t have any idea who Iam. I know that’s for sure. They were kind of justscreaming at “9, 9, Taylor, Taylor.” You could see evenwhen Nick Phelps, the backup punter was hitting a fewnice ones, you could tell that they were pretty impressedthere. Maybe they haven’t seen that before, but yeah, it’sall good fun. I’m glad they had a good time.
Q. You said that you haven’t had the season you wanted to have, but it would seem like 99% of the punters would trade you seasons. Is that just who you are?
TORY TAYLOR: Yeah. I feel like I put pretty high expectations on myself, but, I mean, you look at the Illinois game, I didn’t really perform that well. There was probably just kind of that middle pack. I mean, Purdue wasn’t a bad game, but just feel like I wasn’t really hitting the balls that I wanted to be hitting towards the end of the year. And although some of them have a good result, it’s more so — I know I sound a bit cliche. It’s not necessarily about the process, but if I’m not hitting the balls I want to be hitting, it becomes a bit frustrating. Although a couple of results here or there went well, but you kind of say from a statistic point of view I had the inside 20s, but yardage certainly dropped towards the end of the year. But, I mean, like I kind of opened with, weather certainly plays — certainly it makes life a lot more difficult. Minnesota was probably the coldest place I’ve ever been in my life. To be out in that weather for that long, it’s just ridiculous. It’s not like you are just running from your house to the car in that sort of cold. You’re kind of out there. Couldn’t feel my hands or toes or anything like that
(laughing). Yeah, that was certainly an experience in itself. I think it was -17 degrees Celsius or whatever that is in Fahrenheit or whatever you use here. I’m really not too sure. Yeah, it was certainly cold, but I love it just because, I mean, the Big Ten, that’s where I feel like specialists can really, really — if you can show that you can perform, it really goes a long way. Yeah, I guess it would be nice kind of punting in his sort of weather every week, but you don’t really get that in the Big Ten.
Q. You’re a captain today.
TORY TAYLOR: Yeah.
Q. What did that mean to you?
TORY TAYLOR: I mean, it means a lot because I feel like the greatest achievement you can have is by being voted in by your peers. Each year each week during the season everyone votes on captain, and just to be voted in for the bowl game really just meant a lot to me because, yeah, they’re the ones that I play for, my teammates. It really had nothing to do with the coaches or anything like that. So to be voted in by the players that I go out there every day, and this started back in January. To get voted in by them, it’s a pleasure. I hope they know every time I step foot on the field, I just never wanted to let them down. answer your question, yeah, it was just I guess a really big moment for me, and probably one of my greatest ever achievements was being voted captain. I really am not just saying that. I really mean it.
Q. First Team All-American, 25 years old. Seems like it be a smart move, or a move maybe you consider going to the NFL. Do you know what you are doing yet?
TORY TAYLOR: Yeah. Yeah, I mean, I’ve had those conversations with a lot of the coaches and my parents