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MT: Lattimore Compared to Frank Gore

Posted by Taylor Price on April 10, 2013 – 11:05 AM

Both Frank Gore and Marcus Lattimore suffered multiple knee injuries in college. Both, however, are considered highly talented running backs, ones who have been known as explosive play-makers during their respective careers.

Gore stands as the San Francisco 49ers all-time leader in rushing yards, carries and rushing touchdowns. At 29, Gore is also coming off a Pro Bowl season, the fourth of his career.

Lattimore,  the NCAA’s national freshman of the year in 2009, has yet to make a lasting career in the NFL. He’s still aiming to be drafted in 2013 after suffering his second major knee injury at the University of South Carolina.

However, the comparisons between the two are still easy to dissect.

Gore was a third-round draft pick by the 49ers in 2005 and proved to be a brilliant selection for San Francisco.

Lattimore, on the other hand, stands poised to follow in Gore’s footsteps. The two also developed a relationship last year. Thanks to 49ers cornerback Chris Culliver, a college teammate of Lattimore, the two were put in touch after the running back prospect tore all three major knee ligaments in his right knee against the University of Tennessee.

Lattimore later compared himself to Gore at the 2013 Scouting Combine.

“I feel like we both run hard,” Lattimore said. “He runs like nobody’s there. He runs with total destruction. I feel like if I could compare my game to anybody, it would be Frank Gore. He’s got low pads, he’s got great vision, he can see the whole field. Great balance.”

The comparisons between the two running backs continued this week in a recent episode of John Gruden’s Camp on ESPN.

The former NFL head coach asked Lattimore about both major knee injuries he suffered in college and how he’s been able to bounce back from the hardships.

“Anything that comes to me in life,” Lattimore began, “I feel like I’ve been through it all. Nothing can ever take the smile off my face because I’ll never take anything for granted again.”

Lattimore continued to detail the lessons he’s learned through rehab and why he’s pursuing a career in the NFL.

“I love football,” the South Carolina star told Gruden. “My kids they’re going to watch this one day and they’re going to see my dad never gave up.

“My story relates to everybody…Adversity introduces a man to himself.”

Gruden later commented that his father ribbed him for not drafting Gore back in 2005. When the 49ers running back broke a big run against a Gruden-coached Tampa Bay Buccaneers team, the elder Gruden immediately sent his son a text message with a reminder of his praise for Gore.

It remains to be seen where Lattimore gets drafted in 2013, but his story is one to watch come April 25, especially with how it compares to San Francisco’s own starting running back.

More NFL Draft and 49ers headlines can be found in today’s Morning Tailgate.

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Morning Tailgate: Gore Reaches Out

Posted by Taylor Price on February 21, 2013 – 6:14 AM

INDIANAPOLIS – The 2013 NFL Scouting Combine is just about to begin. We’re all set in the media work room inside of Lucas Oil Stadium to cover the top college prospects for the next three days. First, 49ers General Manager Trent Baalke will speak with reporters as several GMs and head coaches will take turns talking to reporters this week. Jim Harbaugh will talk to the press on Friday.

As for players, it’ll be offensive linemen, tight ends and kickers talking with the press on Thursday. We’ll share some of their comments throughout the day, but first, let’s take a look at some of the top 49ers related headlines before the start of the NFL Scouting Combine.

Robert Klemko of USA TODAY Sports shared an interesting anecdote in a pre-combine story on South Carolina running back Marcus Lattimore. The injured star running back was given a lot of advice after suffering a second major injury to his knee, most notably from 49ers rushing king Frank Gore.

“By his count, about 15 NFL players who have suffered similar injuries have contacted him to offer encouragement and advice,” Klemko wrote. “San Francisco 49ers cornerback Chris Culliver, a former Gamecock, asked running back Frank Gore to call Lattimore.”

Gore dealt with knee injuries in college and was drafted in the third round back in 2005. Lattimore has been pegged as a third-rounder by many draft experts before the combine. Although Lattimore won’t be able to participate in drills, getting the opportunity to meet with coaches and NFL doctors this week will be crucial for him.

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2012 Plays of the Year: Touchdowns

Posted by Alex Espinoza on February 15, 2013 – 11:29 AM

We need your help in selecting the top plays from the 2012 season. We’re asking our Faithful fans to choose the top takeaway, touchdown, sack, big play and biggest hit of the season. Next, the winning five plays (one from each category), will move on to the championship round to determine 49ers.com’s “Top Play of 2012.”

Watch our “Top 5” video highlights on the best plays for each category, then vote in the poll section of the corresponding blog post to see which top play will reach the championship.

Help us crown the top play of 2012 by choosing your favorite touchdown from this past season. You can vote for your favorite touchdown up until Monday at noon. Let’s take a look at the five nominees.

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Morning Tailgate: Feb. 5

Posted by Alex Espinoza on February 5, 2013 – 11:43 AM

The 49ers were back at the team headquarters in Santa Clara again on Tuesday for the last time as a team. A full range of emotions were on display from the players, who were sad to be together for the final time but happy with the winning foundation set by the team in the past couple of seasons.

Tim Kawakami of the Bay Area News Group wrote that the 49ers are built to make more Super Bowl runs in the future.

“Coach Jim Harbaugh, Kaepernick and the rest did not fulfill their apparent destiny this time; they had every opportunity, and they came up short for now, just as they came up short against the New York Giants a round earlier last season,” Kawakami wrote. “(And, yes, this means the 49ers have had their seasons ended by the eventual champions the past two years.) But Harbaugh, Kaepernick, Gore & Co. should have several more chances together. They were built to have many chances, all stemming from Kaepernick, who started his 10th NFL game Sunday and almost fashioned the greatest comeback victory in Super Bowl history.”

The rest of today’s Morning Tailgate wraps up the best 49ers headlines from Super Bowl Sunday.

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Morning Tailgate: Jan. 29

Posted by Taylor Price on January 29, 2013 – 5:47 AM

NEW ORLEANS – Good morning, it’s Media Day at Super Bowl XLVII. If the San Francisco 49ers thought they’d been a part of a media swarm before, Tuesday’s annual media day will crush that in comparison.

Thousands of credentialed reporters will get their chance to speak with the 49ers Tuesday morning in the Superdome. It should be quiet the scene compared to Monday’s media session which can be viewed in this 49ers.com photo gallery.

Only a handful of players have spoken to the press so far, but the entire team, plus coaches, will be available. It should make for quite the day, 49ers.com will have it all covered LIVE. That’s right, LIVE.

Visit 49ers.com/live during Media Day at Super Bowl XLVII for unprecedented access to the 49ers.

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Morning Tailgate: Jan. 28

Posted by Alex Espinoza on January 28, 2013 – 12:18 PM

NEW ORLEANS – The 49ers touched down in New Orleans on Sunday and greeted the national media in the Big Easy before getting preparations underway for Super Bowl XLVII. Jim Harbaugh and a few of the team’s biggest leaders addressed reporters on Sunday night, discussing the franchise’s sixth Super Bowl run.

Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com broke down the trip for the 49ers and compared it to the two trips to Youngstown, Ohio, that the team has taken in the regular season since Harbaugh took over as coach.

“But the 49ers’ week-long stay at the site of Super Bowl XLVII is bringing back memories of the road trips the club has taken the past two years during the regular season,” Maiocco wrote. “Yes, there will be a lot more media and hype surrounding the 49ers’ game Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens, but it is also a time for the team to focus on football — just as they’ve done in Youngstown on week-long trips.”

The rest of today’s Morning Tailgate features more 49ers arrival news and more.

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Morning Tailgate: Jan. 22

Posted by Taylor Price on January 22, 2013 – 11:15 AM

The Harbaugh brother talk has officially started, but it hasn’t reached overdrive just yet. There’s still plenty of other storylines to dissect as the San Francisco 49ers and Baltimore Ravens embark on Super Bowl XLVII preparations.

For starters, Colin Kaepernick’s role on the 49ers offense is one to discuss. Furthermore, Kaepernick’s strong relationships with his teammates is quite remarkable after considering he will make start No. 10 in the biggest singular game in professional sports.

The respect Kaepernick’s teammates have already shown the second-year player was recently noted by ESPN.com’s Ashley Fox.

“There’s the conflict Kaepernick creates for opponents, and then there is the love that his teammates have for him,” Fox wrote. “It was obvious when (Frank) Gore interrupted Kaepernick’s postgame news conference, answering a question for him.

‘He can do whatever.’ Gore said. ‘He’s a hard worker. He’s a different quarterback, how he takes pride and leads us. He’s started [nine] games. Hey, he’s football. If it weren’t for him, it would’ve been a tough game for us.’

Gore looked at Kaepernick and added, ‘You deserve it.’”

It’s not hard to see why the second-year player has earned such praise from veterans.

After leading the 49ers to a 28-24 comeback victory over the Atlanta Falcons in the NFC title game, Kaepernick finished his second come-from-behind postseason win completing 76.2 percent of his passes, good for the third-best single-game outing in 49ers postseason history.

Kaepernick has already showcased maturity and poise and enters Super Bowl XLVII with seven regular starts, tied for the third fewest for a starting quarterback to reach the Super Bowl in NFL history.

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NFC Title Game Tailgate: Jan. 21

Posted by Alex Espinoza on January 21, 2013 – 3:08 PM

The 49ers are headed back to the Super Bowl. And they did it in style.

Sunday’s 28-24 road comeback in Atlanta to win the NFC Championship was an instant classic that left 49ers Faithful breathless. In the end, a second half shutout by the defense and an impressive group effort by the offense was enough to overcome an early 17-0 deficit in the hostile Georgia Dome.

San Francisco is undefeated in its previous five Super Bowl appearances, and returns to the World Championship for the first time since defeating the Chargers 49-26 in Super Bowl XXIX following the 1994 season.

Super Bowl XLVII, which will be held in New Orleans on Feb. 3. By now, you may have heard about the two coaches who will be coaching the 49ers and Ravens in two weeks: Jim and John Harbaugh. Peter King of Sports Illustrated took a look ahead to the second edition of the HarBowl after a thrilling Championship Sunday in Atlanta and Foxboro.

“The Niners are back,” King wrote. “Hard to believe it’s been 18 years since Steve Young threw six touchdown passes to shred the Chargers, then mimed having a monkey on his back while begging Harris Barton to rip it off, only to throw up a Gatorade/cookie mix all over agent Leigh Steinberg’s shoes in the postgame. Aaah, those were the days. But San Francisco’s finally in the Big One again, to try to stretch its 5-0 record in Super Bowls.”

The rest of today’s NFC Title Game Tailgate recaps the big win in Atlanta and looks ahead to New Orleans.

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Morning Tailgate: Jan. 18

Posted by Taylor Price on January 18, 2013 – 11:41 AM

In the final weeks of the regular season, the San Francisco 49ers wisely hid the quarterback running element of the “Pistol” offense. Colin Kaepernick didn’t leave the pocket often on designed-runs, but unleashed the quarterback scrambles against Green Bay to the tune of 181 rushing yards, the most by a quarterback in any NFL game. Ever.

Do the 49ers have more weapons to unleash this Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons with a  Super Bowl appearance on the line? CSNBayArea.com’s Matt Maiocco believes Vernon Davis is the one that fits the bill.

“After the victory over the Packers, 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman pointed out that the 49ers like to keep their ace card hidden until they need it,” Maiocco wrote in a Friday mailbag offering. “This would appear to be the time for Davis to emerge.”

Davis hauled in a 44-yard pass against the Packers last week on a perfectly thrown touch pass from Kaepernick. The 49ers tight end ran by A.J. Hawk’s coverage to make the over-the-shoulder reception.

Could that happen against the Falcons in the NFC title game? It’s certainly possible. Seahawks tight end Zach Miller caught eight passes for 142 yards and a touchdown in last week’s Divisional Playoff defeat.

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Morning Tailgate: Jan. 17

Posted by Alex Espinoza on January 17, 2013 – 10:54 AM

For most running backs in the NFL, their production starts to dip as they approach their 30th birthday. But 49ers rushing king Frank Gore isn’t like most running backs.

The franchise’s all-time leader in yards, touchdowns and carries is still a workhorse in the backfield at the age of 29. Last week against the Packers, the eight-year veteran ran for 119 yards, joining Colin Kaepernick (181 rushing yards) and Michael Crabtree (119 yards receiving) as the only trio in NFL playoff history to feature two, 100-yard rushers and a 100-yard receiver on the same team.

Jim Trotter of Sports Illustrated traced Gore’s career and his ability to bounce back from devastating injuries and still be one of the game’s most productive backs.

“His resiliency is largely due to genetics and toughness, but there is an ample dose of passion in the recipe,” Trotter wrote. “It might not be as public as a Ray Lewis pre-game dance or speech, but it’s obvious behind the closed doors of the locker room, where the soft-spoken 5-foot-9, 217-pound veteran has been known to cry at his locker after losses, or on the practice field, where during training camp in 2007 coaches had to hide his helmet because he kept sneaking onto to the practice field despite having a broken hand.”

Do you want to see the NFC Championship game in Atlanta? 49ers Faithful have until Noon today to enter to win a trip to Atlanta that includes airfare, lodging and game tickets.

Today’s Morning Tailgate also focuses on Colin Kaepernick in the national spotlight, NFC Championship matchups to watch and more.

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