The San Francisco 49ers hiring of Chip Kelly raised plenty of questions about the offense, and the future of fullback Bruce Miller was a prominent one. Kelly's offenses generally did not use a fullback, and Miller has spent the past five seasons turning into one of the better all-round fullbacks in the NFL.
Last week, Miller was among the players available to the media on the first day of OTAs. We learned that Miller has completely transitioned to tight end. He was told on day one of the offseason program that he was joining the tight end meeting room, and completely out of the running back room. He is not yet doing any h-back work, as far as we know, but it is a topic that has come up. Given his experience at fullback, one would think a creative mind like that of Chip Kelly would look for ways to use Miller in some unique opportunities.
Here's a full transcript of his press conference last week. You can watch video here.
On what position to refer to him as:
I guess tight end, or special teamer, one or the other. We’ll go with both
On when conversation happened:
Actually, my first day in here. I went back to the back with the running backs, and Tom told me, “you’re gonna sit over there with those guys.” And that’s the first time I heard about it.
On how it changed the offseason program for him:
Lining up differently. Different things, getting out into route combinations a little bit more. But then blocking at the line of scrimmage has been different, I think better. It’s just been different … I just enjoy blocking closer to the line of scrimmage.
On if he’s played tight end before:
You know, at the end of each season, we’ve had some guys go down. And I kind of mess around there a little bit, but not like I am now.
On if switching from defensive side to offensive side offers anything for this transition:
Oh no, not at all. Completely different for me. More outside the formation, getting down field, the route combinations have been a lot different for me.
On any physical changes, getting slimmer:
Oh yea. I don’t look skinnier? I thought I did. I thought I lost a little bit of weight. But yea, move around a little better.
On weight loss:
I have, I have. I’ve lost probably 15 pounds from start of last year to now. Like 15-20 pounds.
On how he does it:
Diet. Lots of running. I’m exhausted right now, we’ve been running so much.
On Kaepernick situation and being close to him:
I think the best thing about it is we have a lot of guys who can lead this football team. So, lots of the guys that we have now, and knowing what he’s capable of has just been positive for the whole team.
On Kaepernick’s work through rehab, and what he sees with Kaepernick unable to practice in full on field:
Exactly that. Not being able to work with the team, but on the sideline taking his drops, working his handoffs. In the morning, out here throwing the ball. In the classroom, just being the leader that he’s been for us.
On uncertainty and what it means for the offensive players:
Just builds confidence as a group when you see what the guys are doing on the field, and knowing that he’s preparing himself like the starter is, it builds confidence in the whole team.
On when he realized Chip Kelly did not have a fullback in Philadelphia:
First day. I paid attention to what they were doing and watched them quite a bit, so I knew right away that my position was going to change pretty dramatically. And, if anything, it was going to be more situational. But I was definitely gonna have a big change.
On any concern on potentially being released:
I never have paid any attention to that. When I came into the league, I switched positions, and every single year was that same kind of feel. So I’ve never paid attention to it. I’ve just put my head down and work and grind, and I’m gonna continue to do that this year.
On when he dropped the weight:
Well, I kinda ended the year last year a little bit light, so I had a good start on the offseason of conditioning, workouts, that right away I knew that I was going to have to be able to run and move around a little better than I have in the past.
On not being in RB room at all:
Not at all.
On any h-back work:
It’s been mentioned, but I’ve just been with the tight ends, completely focusing my time on making sure that I can do that first.
On Gabbert growth:
Not a whole lot really. The first day that he came in, I mean Blaine’s gonna be Blaine. Tons of confidence, great player, great leader, and he has continued that trend whether he’s the backup or the starter. So, that’s what I meant by, we have a whole room of guys who are prepared to lead this football team, and like I said, it builds confidence for everybody.