Ron Coluzzi's self-confidence permeates Iowa's specialists

Hawkeyes' new punter has a 'make it happen' mentality, Ferentz believes he can 'steady that group a little bit'

Iowa kicker Mick Ellis (2) and Ron Coluzzi (98) watch a kick by Ellis during the annual Kids Day at Kinnick practice at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City on Saturday, August 13, 2016. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette)
Iowa kicker Mick Ellis (2) and Ron Coluzzi (98) watch a kick by Ellis during the annual Kids Day at Kinnick practice at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City on Saturday, August 13, 2016. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette)

IOWA CITY — It’s already been established new Iowa punter Ron Coluzzi is tough.

While the graduate transfer from Central Michigan brings a ton to the table, perhaps the quality that’s helped him most and impacted his teammates most is his self-confidence. His maturity, as pointed out earlier this week, is evident.

Coach Kirk Ferentz has seen him make a mark on the specialist group right away, and confidence has been the key.

“Ron, from the first time we met him last winter has just been a really mature, heads-up guy, and when he got here in June and started working, it’s really been fun to watch him,” Ferentz said Tuesday. “He’s done a really good job back there, and I think the extra benefit for us has been that he’s a more mature guy being a college graduate already. And with a very young group of specialists, and it’s a large group of specialists, to have that maturity and have that confidence, it’s really been, I think, beneficial for other guys that haven’t played very much.

“We, I think, picked up a really good punter, but on top of that a guy that can help steady that group a little bit and kind of show them the way to do things in terms of practice, and when games start to come around, I think help steady guys a little bit.”

Coluzzi will punt and handle kickoff duties, as well as be the holder for place kicks. He’s the lone upperclassman as a senior among a group of kickers and punters that features three true freshmen, two redshirt freshmen and two sophomores.

He came onto campus and didn’t shy from being a leader by example whatsoever. He handled kicking duties as well during his time at Central Michigan, but that position appears to be reserved right now for freshman Keith Duncan. Coluzzi didn’t seem at all phased by a freshman winning the spot, and laughed off any notion that it should’ve been his.

His willingness to accept his role — a position he loves, by the way, along with kickoffs — is an attitude Ferentz said he wants from anyone with that kind of experience.

“I think it’s like all of our seniors. We sure hope they give us leadership and help calm some of the other guys down,” Ferentz said. “Ron just takes care of business. He’s really thorough, very detailed, really positive personality, and he’s a confident guy, and he’s a good player. That helps. So I think just his influence that way is going to be good for everybody in the group certainly.”

When asked where his self-confidence comes from, Coluzzi had to think about it for a minute.

Ultimately he settled on his dad, a realtor in the greater Chicago area, who was raised in a blue-collar family and had to make something of himself. Coluzzi adopted a mentality learned from his dad that “no” isn’t an option, and that if you want something, nothing can make it happen but going and getting it yourself.

That’s led to how he carries himself on the field and in the locker room, and it’s how he’s taken a leadership role among the specialists for the Hawkeyes.

“I’m trying to be the best teammate I can be and the best punter for the University of Iowa,” Coluzzi said. “I know in life you’re going to be knocked down — physically or mentally. I just don’t like being told no. If you want to be somewhere in life; if you want to lose 40 pounds, make it happen; if you want to be President of the United States, make it happen.

“Don’t take no for an answer. Do whatever it takes. I’ve always had that mentality, and it’s worked so far.”

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