You’ll know when Dylan Klumph has gotten every bit of a punt. Just listen.
“When he hits that ball clean, you hear it,” said Arizona special teams coordinator Jeremy Springer said. “It’s a good sound.”
A good feeling, too.
“When you hit a sweet spot with a golf ball, you know that ball’s absolutely crushed. There’s a smile on your face,” Klumph said. “The same with punting. When you hit that ball in a perfect spot, you know it’s going to go 50, 60 yards.”
Klumph figures to make a lot of noise at Arizona Stadium this fall. A graduate transfer from Cal, Klumph opted to join the Arizona Wildcats for his final year of college football.
His impact on the team will be measurable. Klumph finished fourth in the Pac-12 in punting average last season. The Wildcats were dead last.
“He’s veteran, who’s been in the Pac-12 before, so he’s a guy that’s kicked in tough games, tough weather games ... so he brings a different dynamic that maybe some other guys don’t have,” Springer said.
Why Klumph left Cal
Klumph said he asked for his release from Cal in December and was granted a full release in January after Cal originally blocked him from contacting opponents or other Pac-12 schools.
Klumph, who graduated in May with a degree in Legal Studies, said he liked the idea of a change of scenery. Plus, Cal had redshirt senior punter Steven Coutts waiting in the wings and the possibility of being benched loomed.
When asked why he chose Arizona, Klumph first mentioned the weather. Tucson offers two things Klumph says all punters love: heat and elevation.
“The ball really flies out here,” he said. “My whole career I kicked at sea level and in the cold, and this time I’m in elevation and heat and I want to say it’s giving me an extra 10 yards, 15 yards.”
Which isn’t always a good thing. Precision matters, too.
“There’s a lot of different situations. When you’re 30 yards toward the end zone, it’s a let-it-loose type of deal. But most times (punting is) situational,” Klumph said. “You’ve really got to be a smart player and you need be a student of the game — who’s the returner, where’s he going to go, the wind, where you’re at on the field, what does the team need? Do they need a 60-yard ball or do they need to just get the hand in the air. You have to know exactly what you’re doing.”
Klumph, a self-described pro-style punter, said Springer knows what he is doing, which is another reason why Arizona was on his radar.
“I did rugby (kicks) last year at Cal and had some success with that, but it’s not really my style and now that we’re here, Springer is a big pro guy and he does a lot of pro drills, a lot of pro styles and it’s very conducive and very helpful for me,” Klumph said.
Klumph has NFL aspirations and thinks Springer can help them come to fruition. He pointed to Los Angeles Chargers punters Drew Kaser and Shane Tripucka as proof. Springer coached both of them at Texas A&M.
“He’s got great previous punters, so he knows what he’s doing,” Klumph said. “This place right now is probably the best school in the country to set me up for the pros.”
And, yes, Klumph knew he could be a big help for the Wildcats, who struggled mightily on special teams last season. Arizona averaged 34.2 yards per punt, which was dead last in FBS. Klumph averaged 42.96 yards per attempt — and that was without the benefit of heat or elevation.
“Punting can make or break a team, just like any special teams player,” Klumph said. “Hopefully I can set up the defense the best I can and give them the most room to play with. Flipping the field is a huge thing. It’s a momentum changer too, as everyone knows.”
The Wildcats certainly do.
“They needed help for sure and that’s kinda why I reached out to them and that’s why they came back to me,” Klumph said.
Klumph will be Arizona’s starting punter, even though he is still technically competing with Jake Glatting for the job.
However, Klumph did miss the first week of fall camp as he waited to be formally admitted into his grad program, so he’s not game ready yet.
“I have a lot to work on,” Klumph said. “My big ball is ready, of course, but it’s more about getting the consistent 45-yard balls every time. (Saturday) was an interesting day for punting. None of us did very well. It was a frustrating day but (Springer’s) right, we’ve got to be more consistent.
“NFL coaches want a 45 (yard kick), 4.5 (hang time) consistently. If you hit a 39-yard ball and then a 60-yard ball, even though it might be a good average, they want consistent punters. They don’t know if you’re going to go out and it’s going to be a bomb or if you’re going to shank it. I definitely have to work on being more consistent, but we’re getting there. All of us will be game ready for game one, for sure.”