The first week of NFL preseason pollenates the air with optimism about the coming autumn months. If not checked, these spores can blossom into full-blown hype waves, with entire fan bases caught in the contagion.
On Sunday, coach Jim Tomsula attempted to curb some of the spreading enthusiasm.
"I'd just want to temper everything," Tomsula said in a conference call, per CSN Bay Area. "We don't need to put undue expectations (on him). That's unnecessary to me, to put that on his plate right now. I just want him to stay focused on getting better. The guy is a world-class athlete."
Hayne worked as the team's No. 2 running back in the Niners' 23-10 loss to the Houston Texans, compiling 63 yards on five carries, including a 53-yard scamper. Hayne also returned one kick for 33 yards and two punts for an average of 12 yards.
Tomsula pointed to some specific areas where the upright runner needs to improve.
"The things we got to stay on is when you get into those tighter quarters and seeing the little creases," Tomsula said. "That's where the improvement is. That's where he has to keep working. Not that he's bad at it. He's not, but we've to keep improving there."
Like most novice players, the coach expects Hayne to make big strides during preseason.
"We're definitely looking for the big growth to be from Week 1 to Week 2, and 2 to 3," Tomsula said. "After Week 3, you've an idea where it is and you're running out of time."
After entering the offseason as a roster bubble candidate, it appears that Hayne is set to make the 49ers and could play a role in his first year, especially on special teams.
Just don't let the hype get out of control.