With the 49ers up in Napa for two days of practices with the Oakland Raiders, a heightened competitive energy is to be expected.
And if Frank Gore is on the field, there’s no question he’s the one leading that liveliness.
Such was the case Tuesday morning, as Gore dominated the Raiders linebackers in 1-on-1 blitz pickup drills.
On Gore’s very first rep against Raiders linebacker Ricky Brown (6-2, 235 pounds) he flattened the fourth-year ‘backer instantly as if he were doing his best impersonation of an offensive lineman making a pancake block.
“Frank was outstanding. He was exceptional,” head coach Mike Singletary said of his star running back’s performance on Tuesday. “Frank gets excited about what he’s doing and to me, his heart, his emotion and his enthusiasm is what this game is all about.”
Afterwards, Gore praised his running back coach Tom Rathman for helping him with the smaller details of picking up blitzing linebackers.
“He wants us to be very aggressive and he’s helped me a lot,” Gore said of Rathman. “He’s helped me with the small things like taking (proper) angles and I’m trying to do my best to do whatever he tells me to do.”
Gore has made sure to improve on all aspects of his game under the guidance of Rathman.
“I feel that anyone can run with the ball, but to be a complete back you have to catch the ball and block and a lot of people don’t like doing it because it’s tough,” Gore said.
So far in training camp, Gore has yet to take a practice off. But when lined up facing a different team, Gore found himself especially fired up.
“It was my first time going up against another club,” Gore said of his increased enthusiasm. “I just love doing what I’m doing. I love the game and I’m having fun out there.”
Gore was asked if he would play against the Raiders this Saturday night at Candlestick Park, to which he responded, “Yeah, I think I will.”
But if Gore doesn’t suit up on Saturday, he understands the reasons for it.
“My coaches know what they’re doing,” he said. “I didn’t get a break during the practices, I never ask for a day off. I guess they see how hard I’m working.”
Morning Practice Notes
Because the two Bay Area teams were practicing each other, several well-known faces were in attendance. Recently retired Hall of Fame coach/broadcaster John Madden watched practice as did another retiree in former 49ers and Raiders offensive lineman Jeremy Newberry. New York Yankees Manager Joe Girardi also attended practice as his club is in town playing the Oakland A’s.
During 1-on-1 drills, Reggie Smith picked off Raiders quarterback Charlie Frye after the ball was initially tipped by Carlos Thomas.
When the 49ers first-team offense competed against the Raiders first-team defense in a 7-on-7 period, Alex Smith completed two nice deep balls to Isaac Bruce, who beat the coverage of Oakland cornerback Chris Johnson.
Later, Shaun Hill found tight end Vernon Davis down the right hashmarks for a 25-yard gain.
One of the funnier sights of practice was seeing Raiders and 49ers coaches argue over a possible interception by free safety Dashon Goldson during a two-minute drill drive simulation. With the Raiders coaches acting as referees, they ruled Goldson’s interception as an incompletion, citing the ball touched the ground before Goldson had full possession.
Tags: Frank Gore
Posted in Uncategorized | 33 Comments »