49ers Training Camp, Frank Gore and the 2009 season

If you had a chance to check out the Golden Nuggets this morning, you might have noticed a good number of articles pertaining to Frank Gore.  Gore proclaiming he's in the best shape of his life!  Jimmy Raye proclaiming Gore has "the eye of the tiger!" (Definitely a favorite line).

Prior to all these articles I had not noticed much mention of Frank Gore in recaps or features or anything of the sort.  Heading into the draft there was discussion of a need for a handcuff to Gore.  The team grabbed Glen Coffee in the third round and I still am curious what the plan is for utilizing Coffee.  In reading about him he sounds like a similar runner to Gore.  The team does also have options like Kory Sheets and Thomas Clayton, who if either made the 53-man roster would certainly complicate the answer.

Up to this point it sounds like Coffee is getting a whole lot of first team reps.  Maybe not as many Gore, but plenty nonetheless, in all aspects of the offensive scheme (rushing, receiving, blocking).  I don't do much in the way of preseason community projections, but for this particular position, I'm curious what people see happening at the running back position, assuming all the backs stay healthy.

You can respond however you'd like, whether it be general statements, or specific predictions on carry splits (a specific number, or just a percentage breakdown such as 70/30).  If Coffee can establish himself as a reasonable alternative to Gore, then you start considering utilizing both guys in the same backfield.  A quality second running back opens up numerous options for the offense.

If you look at the top rushing offenses last season, one thing they had in common was at least one additional running back who could punish opposing defenses.  Even teams like the Jets and Cowboys who relied primarily on Thomas Jones and Marion Barber respectively, had a decent backup option.  The Jets rolled out Leon Washington (448 yards @ 5.9 ypc, 355 yards receiving), while the Cowboys had Tashard Choice (472 yards @ 5.1 ypc).  And the Cowboys get back Felix Jones this year as well.

Now I'm not saying Glen Coffee is a guarantee to turn into a solid second option, but I do think if he can step up and take some of the load off Frank Gore, that will most definitely be a good thing.  Maybe Gore would even avoid some of those tedious injuries that have cost him a game or two here or there.  Either way it'd be nice for somebody to fill the role DeShaun Foster was supposed to fill last year.  I'd hope it can only improve the team.

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