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49ers Training Camp: Returning to the back-up running back battle

The 49ers have spent the last couple years looking for some kind of backup option for running back Frank Gore. Whether talking about Maurice Hicks, Michael Robinson, DeShaun Foster, and now Glen Coffee and maybe Anthony Dixon, nothing has quite stuck yet. Of course, Coffee is only a year in to his 49er career, and Anthony Dixon was only recently drafted.

However, recent reports certainly have me curious as to how effective either of them will be this season. Frank Gore enjoys getting as many carries as he can, so it's not exactly the end of the world. However, it would certainly be nice to build an effective rushing attack beyond Frank Gore.

I point you to a Sando post involving a quick bullet on Glen Coffee, and a Barber post about Anthony Dixon. The Coffee post was fairly generic and said:

Backup running back Glen Coffee added weight this offseason in an effort to improve upon what he considered a subpar rookie season. He hasn't stood out in camp to this point, however.

The Dixon post was much more specific and included an amusing quotation from OC Jimmy Raye:

"I like him," the long-time assistant said, breaking into a wide grin. "Though there are times I want to strangle him. He's young, and you know how they say youth is wasted on the young. He's young and he's learning. He's running over the quarterback and the lines. He's just having fun, and he's learning what to do."

Although Frank Gore remains a tank running over defenses, as I said, it'd really be nice to establish something behind him. The upcoming preseason games will be huge for figuring that out. After all, Gore will likely not get very many touches in an effort to keep him healthy prior to the season. That means Glen Coffee and Anthony Dixon will be the main guys in the preseason.

Although preseason doesn't tell us everything we know, one or both of them will likely get some quality carries against first string defensive players. Coffee had a couple big games against the Raiders and Broncos last preseason, but that did not translate into much regular season success. Will things change this time around? Will Anthony Dixon step up in the preseason and turn that into a solid regular season performance? Does it matter with Frank Gore at the helm?