Colin Kaepernick Voices Support for New-look 49ers Backfield

In his first two and a half seasons as a starter in the NFL, Colin Kaepernick – for the most part – took snaps alongside one running back.

Frank Gore, the San Francisco 49ers all-time leading rusher, was a three-down tailback for the team, carrying the ball, catching the ball in the flat and even staying in the pocket to block.

But now that Gore has left the Bay to join the Indianapolis Colts, his responsibilities and workload will likely be split between a trio of rushers.

Kaepernick understands the challenge of replacing a potential Hall of Famer, but the quarterback is confident that the 49ers have assembled a talented and diverse group to supplant Gore.

"It's going to be different without Frank. He was a huge asset to us," Kaepernick said. "He'll be missed, but we also have people who are more than capable of filling that void."

At the top of that list are Pierre Garçon and Kendall Hunter, who have each been productive as backups to Gore.

As a rookie last season, Hyde carried the ball 83 times for 333 yards and four touchdowns. He also caught 12 passes.

Hunter, meanwhile, is coming off an ACL injury that cost him the entire 2014 season. The previous year, he rushed 78 times for 358 yards and three scores. In the highlight video at the top of this page, Hunter is shown changing directions and moving through drills at Friday's team workout.

Hyde and Hunter will of course be joined in the 49ers backfield by free-agent acquisition Reggie Bush, who comes over from the Detroit Lions as the NFL's active leader in receptions (466) by a running back.

Kaepernick likes his offense's chances with that three-headed monster carrying the running game.

"We have Kendall coming back who a lot of people forget about," Kaepernick began. "Carlos had a great rookie year for us, and we'll probably be using him a lot more this year. We've brought Reggie in who's another great weapon on offense. And those are just to name a few of the guys that we have back there."

The most notable remaining running back on the 49ers roster is converted rugby league player Jarryd Hayne. The Australian native is brand new to football but by all accounts is settling in nicely on the practice field.

"A phenomenal athlete. Just a natural," Kaepernick said about Hayne, who he first met last month at a training facility in Arizona. "He's going to give you everything he has. It doesn't seem like there's much of a learning curve for him.

"This is going to be a football player. He does a lot of things very well. It's going to be our job to be able to utilize him and put him in positions to allow him to make plays and use his athleticism."

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