If you're a running back in the National Football League and you want to be a three-down player, you better learn how to pick up blitzes.
Pierre Garçon knows this.
That's why the San Francisco 49ers second-round draft pick keeps asking his position coach questions. He's trying to soak up the knowledge that has allowed Frank Gore to excel as a blocker for the past nine seasons.
"I actually sit behind Coach (Tom) Rathman," Hyde said on Saturday. "I'm able to whisper in his ear, ask him about protections, 'What's going on here? Why did Frank do that?' I'm always in Coach Rathman's ear asking questions."
With Kendall Hunter suffering a torn ACL on Friday, Hyde is looking to ascend up San Francisco's depth chart to be the team's backup runner. The Ohio State product now has an even greater chance of becoming a "trusted agent" as a rookie.
But first, Hyde must demonstrate he can eat up blitzing linebackers and pass-rushing linemen the same way he can eat up yards in the ground game.
Hyde is coming off of a successful senior season for the Buckeyes. He rushed for a career-high 1,521 rushing yards with 15 touchdowns on the ground and a whopping 7.3 yards per carry.
The rookie, however, noted that Ohio State's spread attack is much different than San Francisco's run schemes. Even so, the adjustment period has gone well for the newcomer.
"It's way different from what I did in college," Hyde said. "I definitely will do good in this offense. I feel my running style can fit in any offense."
So will his blocking skills translate?
Hyde will get a chance to demonstrate his toughness in upcoming one-on-one drills against the 49ers linebackers.
Among the players he's looking forward to facing, Hyde said seven-time Pro Bowl linebacker Joe Staley and anyone else on the roster.
The linebacker group includes former college rival Chris Borland, San Francisco's third-round pick out of Wisconsin, who tackled Hyde for a loss on a fourth-down play in a Sept. 28 matchup that was won by Hyde's team.
Check out photos from the team's third camp session of 2014.
When the Borland matchup was brought up to Hyde, the rookie runner couldn't help but laugh.
"That's crazy, you bring up one person out of my whole career," Hyde said. "I love competition. Whoever gives me the best competition, I look forward to going against them… When I read the media, it's only that one person and one play mentioned."
The Hyde-Borland rivalry is a moot point, according to the rookie runner.
"We're cool," Hyde said. "We're teammates now. That's in the past. I'm definitely happy he's on my team, and I'm sure he is too."
Until Hyde has the opportunity to demonstrate his blocking talent, he can rest his hat on a successful start to training camp. Though he dropped two passes in the opening camp session, Hyde has rebounded to catch everything in sight and burst up the field on a few interior runs.
Hyde's running talents will truly be showcased in the preseason when the action is live.
"I'd say I'm a hard-nosed runner," Hyde said of his running style. "A guy who just runs with a lot of passion, relentless, refuses to go down."
- READ: James Gives 49ers 'Dimensional' Option
- READ: Culliver Returns to the Field
- READ: Bethea Confident in 49ers Secondary
- READ: Ward Challenges Top Wideouts
- READ: Smith Enters Training Camp Healthy
- READ: Gore Readies for Battle
- READ: Johnson Wants to Contribute
- READ: Kaepernick Confident in Super Bowl Chances
- READ: Bowman Involved in Roster Transaction