From 2006 through last year, there was no question about who would assume the featured back role for the
It was Frank Gore. Period.
Times have changed. Gore has moved on to Indianapolis. Second-year back
The latter is intriguing. He sat out 2014 with a torn ACL, but rushed for more yards in each of his first three seasons than the 333 Hyde recorded last year. And Hunter is fully recovered.
"He's coming along great," Jim Tomsula told CSNBayArea.com. "I think we all have strong feelings for Kendall. You see him out there moving. He's moving around great. But we definitely have a rep count on him. ... You've got to keep him corralled. But he's moving around really quick."
Hunter has 1,202 yards (4.6 average) and seven touchdowns in 43 career games.
Tomsula believes the 49ers are covered at running back no matter who emerges to earn the bulk of the work.
"I'm not talking depth charts or anything right now, but they're all getting after it."
All except Hyde, who has been sidelined for a couple weeks with a minor pull in his leg (not his hamstring). Tomsula said if it were the regular season, he would be active.
Bush, who has returned four punts for touchdowns in his career, last returned punts as a member of the Dolphins in 2011, but believes he can help the 49ers from that position.
“I did miss it and I just felt like the opportunity was there for me. Just speaking with the coaches, I told them I wanted to return punts and they were all for it. I think it’s something that gives me another way to showcase my talents and help the team. The past four years, just sitting back and watching, it was something I kind of missed, making an impact from a special teams standpoint.”
Bush has totaled 772 yards on 98 career punt returns.
Now, with Justin Smith and Ray McDonald no longer on the team's defensive line, the 49ers are expecting to have Carradine be a more regular player this season, playing along side linebacker Aldon Smith.
“We work together a little bit, figuring out what kind of stunts and things we could do,” Carradine said, per CSN Bay Area. “I’m excited to work with him this year. He’s a great pass-rusher. I feel like I can bring something to the table to help him as well as he helps me.”
Carradine will likely get action on the right defensive end and spots along the defensive line.
“We got guys who can play left and right end,” Carradine said. “We got guys who can play in the nickel package. We got guys who can play in the base package. So it’s different. We’re all going to work together. Each guy does things different. We’re going to do it together and get things done. For me, I can do both. I’m excited about it. Other guys can do it as well.”
According to NBC Bay Area reporter Damian Trujillo,
McDonald, who was released by the
This might finally be the year
Okoye, a former British Olympics discus thrower and rugby player, is feeling confident about his improvements and feels like his potential is worth a roster spot.
“It’s very different from the first time I came here. I’m feeling very good about things,” Okoye said Thursday while sitting at his locker. “I’m just happy I was given the opportunity to stay here so long, so I could catch up. I have a good opportunity to show what I can do.”
Okoye has worked under new head coach Jim Tomsula for two years and with Justin Smith's retirement, his emergence might be rewarded.
“You’re going to get lots of people telling you things. But the main thing is to just keep yourself motivated, despite what people say about you," Okoye said. "People will write you off. People will say this or that. Just keep yourself motivated, keep going every day and you’ll be good.”