Some wondered whether or not he’d be able to adjust to the game on the gridiron after word got out that he had problems with pad level during minicamp. But it seems like the San Francisco 49ers running back has fixed the problem.
“I think the biggest thing is you wear a helmet and shoulder pads,” said Hayne, via Paul Gutierrez of ESPN. “You go a lot harder into tackles and you go with a lot more force. It does impact you differently. For me, I’ve just got to keep working on my game and figure out the best fix that’s going to put me in the best position to either pass-protect or even run the ball.”
“I think every time a running back goes against a linebacker and you’ve got to put your body in front, that’s what we’re looking for,” Hayne said. “(Running backs coach Tom Rathman’s) massive about that. Tom obviously had a great career back in the day. He loves all that contact stuff. He’d do it every day if it was legal.”
Hayne isn’t impressing just his running back coaches either. The dual-sport athlete has caught the eye of special teams coordinator Thomas McGaughey Jr. According to McGaughey, Hayne has the potential to be a big factor in the San Francisco return game, too.
“Just natural open field run skills,” McGaughey said. “All you’ve got to do is just go to his YouTube highlight tape and you see it. He can stick his foot in the ground, he can make people miss. He’s an excellent fielder of the ball, works extremely hard, very conscientious and he’s a tough kid.
“I think he has the ability to do it. He just has to go do it.”
It’ll be interesting to see how Hayne’s role shapes into form as training camp progresses. One thing is for sure, the dual-sport athlete looks like a lock to make the 53-man roster.
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