Bruce Miller has been in disguise for most of the 2011 season. It’s just funny how it’s seemingly come into focus on Halloween for that matter.
The two-time Conference USA Defensive Player of the Year has blended nicely into his role with the 49ers, one where he’s asked to play as a fullback who paves the way for elite running back Frank Gore.
Gore, who has rushed for more than 125 yards with a rushing touchdown in his last four games, credited his strong play to his blockers. Miller is among those responsible for Gore surging past Roger Craig into second place on the 49ers all-time rushing list, too.
“Bruce is a very smart kid,” Gore said on Monday. “He’s been coached very well by (running backs) Coach (Tom) Rathman and he’s doing a great job. He’s very athletic. He’s tough.”
Miller, however, doesn’t want the spotlight on him. Instead, he’s complimentary of the 49ers seven-year veteran rusher and his offensive linemen.
“Every week we’re carrying the ball for a lot of yards and it’s pretty impressive on Frank’s part,” Miller shared. “I think the guys up front are doing a great job. I just like being a part of that.”
The No. 211 overall selection in the 2011 NFL Draft has proved to be a valuable developmental player. When starter Moran Norris suffered a fibula injury that caused him to miss the team’s last five contests, Miller has filled in Norris’ shoes, or shoulder pads for that matter, to create running lanes for Gore.
Such success isn’t clouding Miller’s perspective. The rookie is enjoying the experiences, but more importantly, learning on the job as he goes.
“I’m just having a blast feeling like a part of what we’re doing, especially in the running game,” continued Miller. “They’re very creative with what they’re doing upstairs. They call the plays, but we have to execute them and the guys up front are doing an excellent job and Frank’s doing a great job of hitting the hole.”
Gore tied a career high with 31 carries against the Browns and said rest over the bye week allowed him to feel fresh while carrying the ball so many times.
“I felt better yesterday than the games before the bye,” Gore explained. “The bye week helped me.”
Gore also credited his strong month of October to his offseason conditioning. It was in those workouts that Gore pushed his body to handle the rigors of the NFL schedule.
But Gore’s not concerned about the yards he needs to become the 49ers’ all-time leading rusher.
For him, it’s just a one-week-at-a-time approach.
“We’re thinking about the Washington Redskins, going down there to get this win. I think they’re a good team. We take it one game at a time, one day at a time.”
Trick or Treat
Two players on the 49ers roster said their best Halloween costumes of all-time came in the form of dressing as Power Rangers.
One was the Red Ranger; the other was the White Ranger.
Who could it be?
None other than Miller and fellow rookie cornerback Chris Culliver. And if you think about it long enough, it’s easy to tell who was red and who was white.
“I was the Red Ranger, of course,” Miller, the red-headed fullback said. “I couldn’t go any other way.”
Culliver had different reasoning for his selection.
“I was the white one… he was the coolest.”
And while players won’t be dressing up like they did as youngsters, they can take pride in seeing their children take part in the holiday.
Gore said his son, Frank Jr., would dress as NBA star LeBron James, while linebacker NaVorro Bowman’s son, NaVorro Jr., went to school dressed up as a police officer.
“He went to school, blowing his whistle. I’m guessing he’s just blowing the whistle and flashing his flash light all day.”
Tags: Bruce Miller, Chris Culliver, Frank Gore, Navorro Bowman
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