SANTA CLARA -– There is little doubt 49ers rookie Carlos Hyde can handle the running requirements of his job.
Ultimately, his ability to pick up linebackers on blitzes will determine if he is able to take over for injured Kendall Hunter as the No. 2 running back behind Frank Gore.
“In the National Football League, just take a year’s worth of stats and see how many times you throw the ball,” 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman said. “How many times will the running backs actually be responsible to block somebody as a halfback? Quite a few. Several, several hundred.
“So that is a big part of the equation. What we’re seeing nowadays, a lot of guys don’t have a ton of work relative to what they used to in pass protection, based on the types of schemes that are run in college.”
Hyde comes from a spread offense at Ohio State, where he rushed for nearly 2,500 yards and 31 touchdowns in his final two seasons. There is little question he fits what the 49ers want in a runner.
“He’s impressive,” 49ers fullback Bruce Miller said. “Big body, can run. And I think he does what running backs in our system, what we want them to do. He’s a vertical runner, not much side-to-side. He can put his foot in the ground and get vertical, which is what we ask those guys to do, pick up tough yards.”
The pads went on Saturday, so Hyde will be able to start to carrying over what he has been learning in the classroom to the practice field.
“I actually sit behind Coach (Tom) Rathman and I’m able to whisper in his ear and ask him about protections and stuff, what’s going on, why Frank did what he did,” Hyde said. “I’m always in Coach Rathman’s ear, asking questions.”
Said Roman, “There’s nothing Carlos Hyde has done since he’s been here from me not to like him a lot as a coach.”