Rookie running back Benjamin Gay was a hot topic during Butch Davis' Monday press conference.
Playing for the first time in the backfield last Sunday against Baltimore, replacing the injured James Jackson, Gay rushed for 56 yards on 18 carries and scored one touchdown. He also had a key 21-yard gain to the Ravens' 2-yard line that set up a 1-yard touchdown run by Jamel White in the fourth quarter.
Davis was guarded in his praise of Gay.
"You have to understand where Ben is coming from," Davis said. "He's had a limited amount of playing experience. It's not a lack of ability or any of those kinds of things, it's the naivete of the whole thing.
"This is a big stage for anybody. If you played at Michigan for 48 games in front of 107,000 people, and you played against Ohio State and in the Rose Bowl, all of those things are learning experiences. He's making progress, and we're happy with the progress that he's making."
All of which means Gay could be right back where he was before Jackson wasn't able to play last Sunday because of a sore ankle. Davis indicated that Gay might become more a part of the offense, but he gave no indication that Gay might be the starter.
"If a running back is going to be any good at all, he has to have good vision and see things develop," Davis said. "One of the things he has to work at is that there can't be any hesitancy. In the NFL, holes don't last that long. If there is a crevice, you better take it because defenses in this league have the ability to get off a block fast."
NOT HAPPY: Davis wasn't happy that Gay was penalized for taunting after returning a kick 66 yards.
"That wasn't being smart in a tight game, and he understands that," Davis said. "Some of it will come with maturity. Some of it will come with more playing time. He's so excited to be in the National Football League and to be making a contribution, when something good happens he can't contain it."
INJURY REPORT: Middle linebacker Wali Rainer said that his injured right ankle is feeling better, and he hopes to play next Sunday against Cincinnati. Rainer missed the last two games after suffering the injury against Chicago. Jackson, like Rainer, is in a day-to-day mode.