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49ers RB Carlos Hyde Bracing Himself for Training Camp Competition

Posted Jun 16, 2017

In a crowded room of talented running backs, Hyde knows he'll have to separate himself to keep the starting job.



A new regime puts everyone on notice, and Carlos Hyde is fully aware he'll have to prove himself to the San Francisco 49ers revamped coaching staff.

Since the departure of 49ers all-time leading rusher Frank Gore in 2015, Hyde has been the go-to guy as the team’s primary back each of the last two seasons. But with a new head coach comes new expectations.

The offseason program provided Kyle Shanahan with the chance to assess talent on the roster - both returning players and newcomers alike. In a “nobody is locked in” mantra, Shanahan has made it clear that roster spots are a wide-open competition. Established veterans are no exemption.

“All we have to go off of is watching tape from what they’ve had in the past,” Shanahan said. “We want to balance everyone out, give everyone opportunities at each position. We need to see for ourselves, doing what we’re asking them to do, the techniques and the schemes and find out what the best place is for guys.”

In addition to Hyde and Raheem Mostert, the 49ers added depth to the running back position in the offseason. San Francisco brought in veteran free agent Tim Hightower, acquired Kapri Bibbs in a draft-day trade with the Denver Broncos, drafted Joe Williams in the fourth round and signed Matt Breida as an undrafted free agent.

It's a crowded backfield, and Hyde knows that he will have to fend off his counterparts to retain his starting job.

“I feel that there’s more competition in the room now. (Running backs coach) Bobby (Turner) stresses it every day that he wants guys in the room competing. Any one of those guys can go in and be a starter. That just pushes me to take my game to the next level, because I want to be the starter. Every guy in that room wants to be the starter. So, it’s going to help everybody out. It’s going to benefit all of us.”

But with competition comes opportunity.

Over the years, head coach Shanahan has had plenty of success with running backs, most recently, with Atlanta Falcons tandem Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman. Hyde is relishing the chance to thrive in Shanahan’s system.

“With this offense, there’s a lot of opportunity for the running back, not only carrying the ball, but playing as a receiver also,” Hyde said. “Everything’s different than what we did last year.”

Hyde posted career-highs in 2016 with 217 carries for 988 yards and six touchdowns. Now he'll have to impress Turner, who has the job of discerning which 49ers running back is separating themselves from the others. 

“He’s doing an outstanding job. But again, I’m not surprised,” Turner said of Hyde. “He’s eager. Eager to learn. And at this point in time, he’s doing a good job.”


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