Asked Friday how the 49ers will cope without reliable Frank Gore in the backfield for the first time in a decade, Colin Kaepernick first praised Gore, then ticked off the running backs who will take over his role.
The first name on his list: Kendall Hunter, who tore his ACL in the second practice of training camp on July 25 and was lost for the 2014 season.
“We have Kendall coming back, who a lot of people forget about," Kaepernick said. "Carlos (Hyde) had a great rookie year for us, and we’ll probably be using him a lot more this year. We’ve brought Reggie (Bush) in who’s another great weapon on offense. And those are just to name a few of the guys that we have back there. (Gore will) be missed, but we also have people who are more than capable of filling that void.”
By all accounts, Hunter is on pace for a fast comeback. And it seems from the video below as if he already is going full bore during the team's offseason program. Check him out at the 43-second mark. (Video courtesy of 49ers.com)
Several 49ers who ended the 2014 with injuries also can be seen taking part. That includes safety Jimmie Ward (foot), nose tackle Ian Williams (ankle), guard Brandon Thomas (ACL, at 1:02 mark), tight end Vance McDonald (back), tight end Derek Carrier (foot) and tight end Garrett Celek (foot).
It's also notable that newcomer Jarryd Hayne, at nearly 225 pounds, keeps pace in a shuttle race with several defensive backs, all of whom are 200 pounds or lighter. That's why Kaepernick was so impressed with Hayne's athleticism.
Read Matt Barrows’ blogs and archives at www.sacbee.com/sf49ers.