UK Football

A capsicum conundrum? It’s one of many complications for new Kentucky punter.

New Kentucky punter Max Duffy of Australia was one of five early enrollees who met with reporters on Tuesday.
New Kentucky punter Max Duffy of Australia was one of five early enrollees who met with reporters on Tuesday.

Max Duffy would like to apologize in advance if he holds up the line at a Subway near campus.

An unusual sandwich topping request has complicated things a bit for Kentucky’s newest punter.

“I was trying to order capsicum and no one knows what capsicum is,” Duffy explained this week with a smile.

“So apparently it’s green peppers, but I’m still sticking with capsicum.”

Vexing veggie names are one of many things Duffy has had to adjust to after moving this month from Perth, Australia, to Kentucky.

“There’s a lot of slang,” he said of the most notable differences in his short time in the States. “I know we have a lot of slang coming from Australia, but a lot of slang (here, too). I’m having to ask my housemates, what is he going on about? What is he talking about?”

And the other biggest difference is the food. “I’m still getting used to the food.”

He noted that America has “lots of take-away joints,” which he’s learning to maneuver.

The 6-foot-1, 200-pound sophomore, rated as the No. 1 punting prospect in the 2018 class by Ray Guy’s ProKicker.com, has had a helping hand from fellow Aussie Matt Panton, who punted last season for UK as a graduate transfer.

“It’s been good to talk to another Australian,” Duffy said of Panton. “Just very different cultures. To come over here and have another Australian here has been very helpful. He’s helped me through it.”

maxduffy
Max Duffy played professionally for Fremantle in the Australian Football League before being cut. Now the psychology major is in school at UK while getting a crash course in American football. Mark Mahan

All of the nuances, the differences, the strangeness was part of the reason that Duffy opted to be a mid-year enrollee at Kentucky along with four other 2018 classmates.

Duffy played professionally for Fremantle in the Australian Football League before being cut. Now the psychology major is in school while also getting a crash course in American football in hopes of competing for the starting job come fall.

“Still learning the rules, still learning all the positions and those kinds of things,” Duffy said of football in America. “So it’s really important for me to get here early, have 6-8 months before I hopefully play a game, get used to wearing pads and helmets and things like that.”

The punter, who will be a college-ancient 25 years old at the start of the 2018 season, also has had to get used to the differences in offseason conditioning.

“The gym work is definitely fairly different,” he said. “Ours is a lot more running based. This football’s a lot more lifting and getting in the gym. That’s been something I’ve had to transition with. Hopefully the punting skills will translate over pretty well.”

According to ProKicker, Duffy averages 48 yards per punt with an average hang time of 4.42 seconds. That 48-yard average would have put him at No. 1 nationally last season, just in front of Florida’s Johnny Townsend, who averaged 47.55 yards per punt.

Only three other punters, Trevor Daniel (Tennessee), Michael Dickson (Texas) and Corey Bojorquez (New Mexico), averaged better than 47 yards per punt a season ago.

Jennifer Smith: 859-231-3241, @jenheraldleader

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