The main question Corey Dunn’s new teammates ask him is not about punting or his journey from Australian rules football to the American gridiron. It is not about his days as a ballboy at City College of San Francisco or his adjustment to life in America.
When Dunn’s new teammates in Ames are not trying to mimic his accent (something he says some of them can do well), the question he gets most frequently is about Australia’s most famous animal.
Do you really see kangaroos there?
“Yeah,” Dunn said with a laugh Monday night after Iowa State’s spring practice. “You do see them.”
While Dunn’s teammates are thinking about one of the more interesting animals in Earth’s ecosystem, the 6-foot-1, 200-pound punter from down under is doing his best to adjust to a game he’s been playing for only a couple years.
That adjustment period truly started during his freshman season at City College of San Francisco then continued during the aforementioned redshirt year in which he was the team’s ballboy, catching field goals and roaming the sidelines in aid of officials.
“It’s been going really good,” Dunn said. “I’ve enjoyed being with the coaches and getting to know all the players.”
“I get one on one time with Coach (Joe) Houston and Coach (Steve) Hauser. My biggest thing I’ve got to work on is my ball drop. So being able to work with Coach Houston on ball dropping is really valuable for me. I’ve loved it.”
For most punters entering their first year of Division 1 eligibility, ball dropping is probably a fundamental thing they mastered in years of attending kicking camps or on the high school field. That is not the case for Dunn considering the majority of his kicking experience comes in Australian football, which allows players roughly 15-yards before kicking the ball rather than the traditional two-step kick most American punters employ.
“Because of Aussie rules I usually sway when I ball drop but I need to get more of a still ball drop,” Dunn said. “So just trying to lock it in there and not go back to old habits, which it’s coming around nicely.”
“It’s so hard. I’m trying to get down to a two-step punter. Whereas back in Aussie rules you could run for like 15 yards and kick the ball so you had 10 extra steps to do it. Now I’m trying to just do it off two steps and get good height and accuracy off that. It’s hard.”
While making those adjustments have been difficult for the Numurkah, Australia native, it also gives Iowa State’s staff some unique traits to work with. Dunn says he loves using the rugby-style punt that has made its way into college football in recent seasons.
Houston, Iowa State’s new special teams coordinator, loves the versatility Dunn’s football background gives the staff when creating their schemes.
“Just finding out what pitches he can hit and game planning the schemes around him,” Houston said. “I’m going to have to think of myself as more as like a pitching coach with the different type of pitches he can throw and he does a lot of stuff. It’s really impressive. He’s going to be growing a lot in the program. We’ve got him for three years.”
“His ability to move the pocket is something that we’re really going to have to dive into in terms of what we do on the punt team.”