Super Bowl XLVII is right around the corner.
We have officially entered the 72-hour countdown to the big game, and media week has been a treat. Since there are only two teams remaining, it's been all 49ers, all the time. The coaches and players have had plenty of opportunities to field questions, however repetitive.
On Thursday, Jim Harbaugh and Colin Kaepernick fielded some questions about the franchise's all-time leading rusher, Frank Gore. In less than a decade, Gore has become an iconic figure in this era of 49ers football. Look up the 49ers' all-time leaders, and you'll find him there right next to Joe Montana and Jerry Rice
Harbaugh had nothing but good things to say about his team's workhorse back.
On Frank Gore's evolution within the pistol offense:
Nobody does it better than Frank Gore. Nobody. Have the greatest respect for Frank because he has the greatest respect for the game. It's evidenced by how he plays, every single game, every single day. Nobody does it better than Frank Gore. I really believe in his talent, but the greatest share is his love for the game; his love and respect for the game of football.
Kaepernick conducted a separate interview but expressed similar praise for Gore.
On Frank Gore:
He's a great player. He's a great leader. He's a workhorse. He's going to do whatever it takes to win and we need Frank Gore to be Frank. That will be good enough on Sunday. I think you can put Frank in any offense and he will be successful. He's the type of running back that can adapt. He can do anything we need him to do. I think that's why he has been doing so well.
On having patience when running:
I think it's very important. You can see Frank waiting for a hole to open, waiting for a crease or a seam. Once he finds one, he's going to hit it.
Gore and Kaepernick have combined for an explosive backfield. Their offense has continued to grow and the relationship between these two has been clicking. Kaepernick running the read-option has unlimited faith in Gore's ability to take the rock and get the job done.
It could not have been more apparent than in the NFC Championship, where Kaepernick had almost no keepers. He let Gore cut up the Falcons defense, and that trust is invaluable to the offense.
Gore also had an opportunity to speak to the media, and there were a few positives reflecting his mindset heading into this game.
On what getting to the Super Bowl means:
It's big. It's big, especially going through so much with this organization. I was drafted in '05 and I had a lot of struggles. We had some players in the locker room, but now we have a chance to play in the big game, so it's big.
On if there is pressure on him to have a big game:
I'm just going to out there and be me. I have done a great job for eight years now and if I just go out there and be Frank Gore, I can have a successful day.
Gore will be a central figure on Super Bowl Sunday.
He seems to have adopted the mindset of someone taking it one game at a time. Gore appears ready for this challenge but not overly anxious. Players like Gore, Kaepernick, Willis, Bowman and others have all appeared comfortable this week -- like the calm before the storm.
We first got that impression when they stepped off the plane in New Orleans.
Gore will have an impact on this game one way or the other. The Niners rushing attack will be crucial to the team's success on Sunday. In his comments, it's clear that he cherishes this moment because he recalls how bad things used to be in the Bay Area. But he knows his focus must remain the same in order to be productive on game day.
His performance should play a contributing factor in how this game ends.