Jarryd Hayne is quite the popular player following a second straight big preseason performance. Hayne rushed for 54 yards and had three punt returns for a total of 84 yards. Hayne got his pro career off to a solid start the previous week with a big run and a pair of solid punt returns, and that built momentum for this game. Australian media had four members credentialed at the Texans game. A week later, they had 20 people with credentials. Things are getting wild.
MMQB EIC Peter King was on hand at 49ers practice this past week, and he had a chance to speak with Hayne. It was a lot of what we've heard before, but it is still worth a watch up above. Hayne spoke with the assembled media at Levi's Stadium after Sunday's win over the Cowboys. Here is the full transcript.
Jarryd, you've been pretty reserved in your assessment of yourself over the past few weeks. You must be happy with today, you must be feeling good now.
"Yeah, it's been good. Every time I get out there, I'm just trying to do as much as I can with what I have, and like I keep saying, learning the schemes, especially on special teams. Today was evident as a unit, we've worked so hard in the spring, of how far we've come. Every returner was making yards and getting good gains, and it aided me with my gains as well. It's the schemes we run and we stick to them and we can create big plays."
On the commentary, they were screaming for you. Surely, you must be feeling really excited now?
"No, not really, you know what I mean? I'm still a long way off from where I want to be. I want to be able to go into games confident that everything I do, I'm comfortable with. I'm still learning, it's only my second game, it's still very fresh. So for me, I'm just taking in as much as I can and wanting to get better every game. I think that's the way I look at it."
I don't know if you've had a chance to, or whether you even want to, but if you've had a chance to listen to any of the commentary, they're kind of going a little bit crazy. They're talking, saying "G'day" and talking about Vegemite and all sorts of crazy stuff. It must be kind of funny and pretty amazing and humbling to see that you've made such an impact, whether you're willing to admit it or not. People are kind of going crazy.
"Well, I guess, people had a lot of doubts and people are surprised by the way I'm going, but like I've always said, I've got confidence in my ability. I'm not over here thinking, or over here that I may be able to, I know and I've got confidence in my ability that if I keep learning the game and keep growing every week, that I can be an NFL player."
What's the adjustment like for you? Just coming from a rugby league into the NFL, what kind of adjustments do you make each game and what are your expectations each game for yourself?
"I think just feeling comfortable. Especially as a running back, we've got check downs, we've got protections, the defense is moving around, so just being able to read the defense. That's the key thing for us. When we get out there, we've got to read what fronts they have, who we think is coming. The out reads can go from a linebacker, to a safety, to a corner. We've got to look out for a lot of people and defenses like to move around and confuse us as well, and do things that with time and with games and with experience, that you get used to. I think, returning the football, probably, our returning scheme where we want to take the ball and where we think we can attack the defense, so just little things like that. I think from a special teams, from where we started to where we are now, we've come leaps and bounds, but like I keep saying, we've still got a lot to improve, and I just want to be crisper out there."
Obviously, if it touches your hand, it's a live ball. Did you ever consider just letting it go?
"No, because I thought it was going to head towards our end zone, so if I was going to drop it, it would have went back there anyway. I felt that I had a lot of momentum, so if I hadn't have caught it clean, I felt that it would have been within an area where I could still get a couple yards."
You couldn't see that whole run back? Your mask was smudged that run back, you couldn't see anything?
"No, when I was coming out it was. So, I went to run out, put the helmet on and it had been smudged, so I had to quickly try and wipe it off and get out there."
Do you still see the space the same as you did in rugby league? Does it still open up for you the same when you're running?
"Kinda. I think it's a bit more jaded, especially with the returns because they're still kind of scattered. So, I'm still getting used to reading my blockers and what not, but like I said, in special teams, we have schemes where we want to take the ball and where the blockers are meant to be, and for me, I can't read if the blockers are in the right position or not. I've just pretty much got to hope and rely on my ability."
Have you been introduced to getting teased for being tackled by the punter yet?
"As soon as I came off, the boys were into me, said I had to pay a fine and what not. I actually saw the replay and he actually grabbed my jersey, so I have to tighten the jersey a little bit."