Frank Gore enters his eight season with the 49ers and once again finds himself at the top of the running back depth chart. But now at 29, Gore faces much more competition in his own camp with the additions of Brandon Jacobs and LaMichael James and the development of Kendall Hunter.
Gore spoke about how he's handling that competition, the shape of the 49ers compared to last year at this point and what the team's new wide receiver threats mean for his role in the passing game.
On the benefits of practicing against one of the bestdefenses in the leagueJust to get us better. We know that weve got great playerson the defensive side. They play great together, and I feel that if we can dothings against them, then we should be able to do anything against anybody, anyother team.On the progress the offense has made through training campWere doing good. Were taking steps. Were far ahead oflast year at camp. Weve taken a step forward.On what areas in which the offense has gotten ahead of wherethey were at training camp last yearId say everything, just knowing our coaches better at thistime, just knowing the offense better. Id say every position.On how long it took him last year to a get a feel for theteam and the roles he needed to performIt took some time. Id say all of training camp, the firstcouple games. We were still learning. But now, like I said, this time, werefar, far ahead of where we were before last year.On being with the 49ers for the full offseason program forthe first time this yearIt was both (Gores and the teams decision). (Runningbacks) Coach Tom (Rathman) told me to try something different. He wanted mehere, and I was here. Just being around the guys, working out with (headstrength and conditioning coach Mark Uyeyama), who is one of the best strengthcoaches in the league, he did a great job with me this offseason. And I stillhad time to go home, work out with my guy, Pete Bommarito. I feel good, I feelgood.On what Uyeyama added to his game during the offseasonconditioning programHe and my trainer back home of probably similar. I probablydid the same things with Uye that I do with my trainer back home.On how his role changes with the 49ers new additions atrunning back and Kendall Hunters developmentIll be the person Ive always been. When Im in a game,whenever Ive got opportunities, Im going to take advantage of it, go hardevery play and try to help my team win. Im the same guy Ive been seven yearsbefore; Im going to be the same guy.On whether he feel the competition from other running backsto take on some of his dutiesIts the coachs decision. Whatever Coach feels is best forthe team, then well go with it.On whether hes concerned about his playing timeI can play football. Im in shape. I feel good, and Imhaving a great camp. Im working hard every day. You all have seen it. You allhave been telling me that I look great. So Im ready to play.On why he frequently asks for others opinion on how heplayedBecause you all are looking. You all saw me for sevenyears, and if you all see a difference, you all will see it.On whether he feels differentI feel great. Like I said before, I think its a mindthing. People say youre turning 29 or 30. I feel that its all about how youtrain and take care of your body and how you work in practice. If you do that,youll be fine.On if he thinks his career can be prolonged by the 49ersusing another running back with himOur coach does a great job of using different personnel andgetting the guys the ball who we feel can help the team. I know hell make sureI have my share and be happy about my share on Sundays and also the other guys.They do a great job.On moving up from 94th last year to 28th this year in theNFL Networks list of the top 100 playersI feel good about moving up, but the year I was 94th Iplayed half of the season. Last year we won more, and as a player Ive justbeen doing the same things Ive been doing since Ive been here. Its just thatwe got an opportunity to win, and everybody saw what I do on Sundays.On his decrease in receptions during the regular season lastyear before leading the team in postseason receptionsIts on what Alex Smith reads. I feel that we won last yearwith him looking down the field more than just checking the ball down. So ifweve got to keep doing it and getting the ball downfield to win, Im good withit.On what the additions of Randy Moss and Mario Manninghammean for the passing gameItll be great. Like you said, you can name all of the guyswho can play football and also the guys who we already had (Michael) Crabtree, Vernon (Davis), Delanie (Walker) or Teddy (GinnJr.), thats a lot of weapons. I hope that they pay attention to more of thereceivers than the running backs."On whether hed rather catch passes out of the backfieldthan blockI dont mind. Whatever it takes for me to win, Im doingit.On his gold cleatsTheyre gold shoes. The reason why I wear them is becauseof my feet. Ive got great feet running the ball, to get in and out of cuts,find a small spot. Thats what Ive got on my gold shoes for.On why his feet are his best attributeTo get in and out and find small spots.