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Captcoolhand
06-13-2007, 09:04 AM
The Pittsburgh Steelers tabbed former U of L cornerback William Gay late in the fifth round of the 2007 NFL Draft. It was a bit of a surprise for the 5-10, 190-pound former Cardinals' standout.
"I was shocked that I got drafted, period," Gay said. "I wasn't supposed to get drafted - that's all everybody said. I'm just blessed and happy I was selected."
He has gone through his first NFL mini camp and has participated in some voluntary training sessions with team members in Pittsburgh.
"There is a lot thrown at you," Gay offered. "I'm just excited to be in a helmet and cleats again - throwing the ball around and catching it and covering receivers again."
Not long into his first official practice as a member of the Steelers Gay found himself lining up at cornerback with the first-team defense.
"I'm sure they were testing me to see how I'd respond," said Gay, "They threw me into the water to see if I could swim."
The Steelers like Gay. He's not particularly fast - he ran a 4.49 40-yard dash at the NFL combine - and he's not particularly big. But he has a way of always being around the football.
In his final season at Louisville, which culminated with a 12-1 record and a win over ACC champion Wake Forest in the Orange Bowl, Gay ranked among the NCAA leaders in interceptions with six. He also broke up another 13 passes, several of which could have added to his interception total. That earned him the nickname "Big Play."
"My strength is being out there and being smart," Gay said. "When you are on the island you've got to be smart and know what you are doing."
So far he has impressed Steelers' defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau.
"He looked pretty good out there. He made some plays and got his hands on the ball," LeBeau stated.
When he was drafted, Steelers defensive backs coach Ray Horton indicated that Gay could make a big difference on the Steelers' special teams - a glaring weakness for the Black & Gold last season.
“He'll be a holdup. He'll be a flyer. He'll be a kickoff guy. You can compare him somewhat to Chidi (Iwuoma). He may not be as dynamic as Chidi. He's not a return guy, but he will be a core special teams player," Horton opined. “He'll be a gunner on the punt team, and then on the punt return, he'll be a holdup guy. On the kickoff team, he'll be one of the outside guys. Kickoff return, I'm not sure if he'll be a front wedge guy or not, but he has that capacity. Again though, (he's) probably not a return guy.
Gay is ready for the special team’s work.
"It was required for us to play special teams in college," Gay explained. "Regardless if you were a four-year starter or a freshman coming in you had to play special teams. I'm used to it and I'm ready to come in and fit in wherever needed," he said.
Gay considers himself a student of the game, proclaiming himself a film junkie.
"The terminology is different," Gay said. "I've got to get what I'm accustomed to in college out of my head and get the new terms in my head. It’s the same basic defense, but it's just worded differently."
Gay is proud of the college program he came out of at Louisville and feels that former coach Bobby Petrino, now the head man with the Atlanta Falcons, prepared him well for the next level.
"Coach Petrino prepared us for the league," Gay explained. "He said ‘If that's not your dream when you get on this team, you don't need to be out here. He prepared us for this."
Not the best written story but it a good read.

Good to see a late rounder making an impact on the team and turning heads. Even if he'll only play special teams, you can never have too many players.:2cents:

AZ_Steeler
06-13-2007, 11:30 AM
The Steelers are known for finding these players that nobody else wants or wanted. Sometimes they hit it big and sometimes they don't, but this kid might just pan out and do the team some good... especially on ST! His speed might be a little bit of a concern but that is something they can work on.

BlitzburghRockCity
06-13-2007, 11:58 AM
We need all the ST help we can get especially during this transition time so if this guy can come in and make an impact as a ST ace that's all the better for us. He's got a nose for the ball so he'll have a shot at making the team as a backup DB but it's good to see he's ready to play ST.

BB2W
06-13-2007, 12:08 PM
I liked this pick... It's funny how so many players that were productive in college get overlooked come draft day.

BRICKTOWN BEAST
06-13-2007, 12:09 PM
This guy reminds alot of Townsend. He'll be a great special teams player and one day the number 4 or even 3 cornerback. just becuase he doesn't have blazing combine speed doesn't mean he can't be a great corner. He probelly is much faster during the game and could keep up with most recivers. he's going to be a reliable corner that won't make alot of mistakes.

Black@Gold Forever32
06-13-2007, 02:53 PM
I think William Gay is going to be a solid NFL player....I like what I'm hearing that he will make an impact on special teams right away on the kick coverage units....Then down the road it sounds Gay very well could be the nickel corner after Townsend retires....