WCIA — There are a few things Melbourne, Australia native Hugh Robertson has trouble understanding in the United States.
“Tipping, I can’t get my head around that yet,” Robertson told WCIA. “The driving, when I go up to Chicago the drivers are… they wouldn’t get away with that sort of driving in Australia. That’s for sure.”
And sometimes, the 29-year old even has trouble relating to his teenage teammates.
“I definitely find my ways,” Robertson said. “They’re probably a bit young for ‘Crocodile Dundee.'”
But one things that does make him feel at home, kicking a football. The former Aussie Rules football player follows in the footsteps of another, after Blake Hayes recorded five All-Big Ten seasons in Orange and Blue.
After a short career in law enforcement, Robertson had the urge to give sport one last go.
“Out of high school I was in the Army for a year. I decided it wasn’t for me and moved into the police force for another challenge,” Robertson said. “I did that for about 8 years, and then this opportunity came out of nowhere.”
On a recommendation from a friend, Robertson left his career and tried out at Prokick Australia, a program that pairs former Aussie footballers with college teams in need of punters. After two years on the bench adapting to the new game, he’s already getting back positive reviews.
“Our last scrimmage on Monday, Hugh as a punter handled that moment as good as they have anytime so far since I’ve been here,” head coach Bret Bielema said.
“Right now, Hugh has been punting pretty well,” special teams coordinator Sean Snyder said. “I think he’s going to be in a pretty good place by the time we get to season.”
“I’m just going to keep playing for as long as I can enjoy it, and right now I’m absolutely loving the new game,” Robertson said. “As long as the body still stays together, this is just an opportunity of a lifetime. For me, this is what I want to do right now.”