Our training camp positional previews continue with a look at the team’s talented backfield.
- Frank Gore continues to box in the offseason. The hand-speed and stamina training allows the 10-year veteran to fight off any runner who wants to take his on-field reps. Gore reached the 1,000-yard mark for the seventh time of his career last season and is poised to show no drop in his game once again. If prize fighters can stick around long into their sporting careers, why can’t Gore do the same?
- Marcus Lattimore is poised to face live contact in training camp and preseason games for the first time since he suffered his second devastating knee injury in the late stages of the 2012 college football season. Lattimore has shown a lot of burst and play-making ability in non-contact drills this offseason. We’ll know soon how this translates into the physical side of the game in the coming weeks.
- Don’t sleep on Kendall Hunter
. He might be quiet, but the fourth-year runner does his talking in between the lines. Hunter had a solid offseason and like Gore, appears to be in line to maintain his running back duties of the past three seasons. Hunter has been solid as a backup, averaging 4.6 yards per carry on 262 career rushes.
PLAYER TO WATCH
San Francisco drafted the Ohio State product in the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft and it’ll be interesting to see how the physical runner is used in his first pro season. Hyde prides himself on being an every-down back. He showed he can catch the ball out of the backfield in spring drills, but how will he fare when picking up blitzing linebackers in one-on-one blocking drills?
Hyde’s addition, coupled with LaMichael James’ change-of-pace skills, gives the 49ers an embarrassment of riches at the position. If Lattimore can return to form, San Francisco will have by far the deepest backfield in the league.
Bruce Miller signed a three-year contract extension through 2017, and all he got was a quill pen selfie… Miller probably won’t have to do as much H-back work this year, but the versatile fullback proved he can be a chess piece in coordinator Greg Roman’s offense… The 49ers drafted Oklahoma fullback Trey Millard in the seventh-round of the draft and he was the favorite player of Sooners head coach Bob Stoops. Millard is coming off a torn ACL and will likely start the year on the team’s Non-Football Injury List… Jewell Hampton rounds out San Francisco’s running back depth. He spent the past two seasons on San Francisco’s practice squad… The 49ers have averaged 137.6, 155.7 and 127.8 rushing yards per game in the past three regular seasons… Will that trend continue with a deep wide receiving corps on the roster? It remains to be seen. However, the running backs can help the passing attack, too.