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BALTIMORE – Rookie running back Carlos Hyde went to bed before his first NFL exhibition game knowing that once the game began, he would not have to wait long to get his hands on the football.
At an offensive meeting at the team’s hotel on Wednesday, Hyde was told he would get a handoff on the 49ers’ first play of the game.
“I actually was up thinking about it, like, ‘Dang,’” Hyde said Thursday, following the 49ers’ 23-3 loss to the Baltimore Ravens in the exhibition opener for both teams.
[INSTANT REPLAY: Hyde shines, but 49ers drop preseason opener]
“I was just picturing in my head what would this run hit. Will I take it to the house, the first on, or get stopped for negative yards on my first carry? I had a 7-yard gain, so . . . “
So . . . not bad.
Hyde played with a splint on the middle finger of his right hand after jamming his finger and ripping his fingernail while attempting to field a kickoff during practice on Monday.
"I thought he ran the ball well," 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said. "He lowered his pads and did a good job."
On his second rushing attempt, Hyde bounced outside to the left sideline to gain 19 yards, picking up a good block from fullback Bruce Miller along the way. On his next carry, Hyde collected 8 more yards. He finished with five carries for 39 yards while playing 12 snaps over the first two series of the game.
“I would’ve loved to play a lot,” Hyde said. “That’s not the case right now. We have more games coming up where I play a little more. Just getting ready for the regular season.”
The 49ers are counting on Hyde to be Frank Gore’s backup this season after Kendall Hunter's season-ending knee injury. Gore gave Hyde, a second-round pick from Ohio State, plenty of encouragement before and after the game. Gore did not play, as the coaching staff does not want to take any chances with the 49ers' all-time leading rusher.
“He just told me good job,” Hyde said of Gore. “I talked to him before the game. I asked if he had any tips for me. ‘It’s football. You’ve been doing this. Just play your game. Don’t try to do anything extra. Just play your game and have fun.’”