Carlos Hyde started Thursday's preseason opener for the 49ers at running back. Veteran Frank Gore took part in warmups and has been healthy throughout training camp. But at age 31, Gore is likely to see only light work in the summer session.
Instead Hyde, the team's second-round draft pick got the start. He run behind left guard Mike Iupati for seven yards on the first play of the game.
Hyde's ascension has been due in part to injuries to backup running backs Kendall Hunter and LaMichael James as well as Hyde's strong training camp to date. The team's coaches have praised both his physical ability – he's a 235-pounder who runs like a smaller man – as well as his sharpness in the meeting room.
The 49ers' coaches have said he learns like Gore, who they have said has savant-like ability as far as understanding the game.
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Gore did not have any carries in last two preseason openers, either. The team's other healthy running backs are Jewel Hampton, Alfonso Smith and Glenn Winston.