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Anthony Dixon Looks to Start at Fullback


The 49ers will likely employ a fullback-by-committee approach with the loss of Bruce Miller to a season-ending shoulder injury.

Will Tukuafu was signed to add depth to the position and the team also has several tight ends with H-back skills.

There's also Anthony Dixon to consider.

Dixon, Miller's primary backup for the past two seasons, is eager to fill the team's lead-blocking role beginning on "Monday Night Football" against the Atlanta Falcons.

Dixon, the fourth-year pro, has mostly played as a short-yardage running back and on special teams coverage units during his career with the 49ers. However, it doesn't mean Dixon's not comfortable with handling the in-line blocking duties of a fullback.

Dixon said on Wednesday that his weight training in the offseason has him prepared to play such a physical position.

"I'm good," the 6-foot-1, 233-pound back said. "I train hard in the summer. I never missed a game. I don't really have injuries right now, so I consider myself a fresh body going in there. I'm ready to go."

Running the football has always been Dixon's calling card in the game of football. In college, Dixon rushed for 3,994 rushing yards and 42 touchdowns as a standout at Mississippi State from 2006-09. He was selected in the sixth-round of the 2010 NFL Draft to provide depth in the 49ers backfield.

Since then, Dixon has mostly been used in short-yardage and goal line packages. He's carried the ball 146 times for 463 yards (3.2 yards per carry) and has scored eight touchdowns. Dixon has caught seven career passes for 20 yards.

The energetic player known for his exuberance on and off the field has never started a game in four seasons, but the opportunity to line up at fullback is something he's not willing to pass up.

Dixon feels like his experience at running back will only help him transition into a lead-blocker.

"It's a different mentality, but it's still the same," Dixon said. "It's good for me to be a running back because I kind of know what they're thinking. I kind of know what they're seeing, or if a defensive lineman is on this side of them, (I know) how they feel about that block.

"It's different coming from the aspect where I don't have the ball, but it's still the same."

Another reason Dixon feels confident about the role change is his relationship with starting running back Frank Gore.

Dixon said the two are in constant communication.

"I've been playing (fullback) for two years, so we'll talk every day, in the steam room, in the hot tub, we communicate," Dixon said. "That's how we get on the same page. That's how we go out there and do good work.

"We're communicating all the time. We'll probably be talking tonight so more, maybe through text messages or something. I already know what he's looking for. I'm just looking to be physical."

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