It might be spring, and it might be in the middle of a minicamp in which little is decided over how much a player will play over the course of a season, but it's still a good time to get quotes from football players.
A day after 49ers head coach Mike Singletary essentially ruled out a big split in reps among his running backs, Frank Gore all but squashed the chances of him sharing the ball on a regular basis with ... well, anyone. Here's the official transcript from the 49ers with some Fantasy notes sprinkled in:
On getting a good feel for Jimmy Raye's new offense:
"Yeah. I like it so far. We're running the ball a lot. We're doing a lot of downhill runs, and that's my type of running style."
On the similarities between Jimmy Raye's offense and Norv Turner's:
"It's about the same. A lot of power counters. Going at them. Don't care what they have in front of us, they just have to stop it."
On whether that offensive style is encouraging given his rushing yards in Norv Turner's system in 2006:
"Yeah because this offense…my type of running style is I like to have my shoulders square. A lot of runs and a lot of running plays are going straight downhill. Just pick your hole and go."
(FANTASY NOTE: This should be very encouraging to everyone out there who has Frank Gore on a rank list. That should be, um, all of you.)
On comparing this running style to last year's:
"More of a lot of finesse runs."
On what he thinks about the team wanting to keep some of the workload off to keep him fresher as the season goes along:
"I haven't heard that we're going to take some of the load off of me. I know the coach has been telling me that I have to be in tip-top shape and I have to be ready to take the load, and that's what I'm going to do."
(FANTASY NOTE: A huge statement by Gore. He's essentially saying that he not only can carry the load for the team all year, but that he's expected to. How many running backs are left out there that will be in such a position?)
On whether he thinks drafting a running back to give him more breaks during the game is needed:
"Well, I feel like the more I'm in the game, the more I touch the ball, the better player I am. The back they've got here is a pretty good back. He's working very hard and he's learning the offense. I like him. Whenever they feel that they want to put him in, get him [inaudible], I feel that he'll be alright to get in the game."
On his thoughts about whether having a rotation will dilute his effectiveness in the second half:
"I don't think that we'll be rotating. But, like I say, my type of style and running the ball and playing, I feel like I get better the more I'm in and the more I touch the ball."
On whether having a backup get more touches could prolong his career:
"Last year it was about the same. We had DeShaun [Foster], we have Mike [Robinson]. They were getting me, coming in on plays the coach had them run. I'm cool with that. As long as I'm in most of the snaps and I'm getting in my rhythm, doing the best I can do to help my team win, I'm fine with it."
On whether his injuries the past two years had to do with being worn down:
"I won't say I was worn down. I couldn't help some, last year fell on my ankle and the year before the same, under power. I felt like I was starting to get stronger the game I did get hurt. I wouldn't say it was because I was worn down. It was just unlucky injuries."
On seeing Glen Coffee and a couple other guys competing to be the backup and whether that pushes him:
"Every time I touch on the field I motivate myself. I feel that every guy wants to be the man. That's what pushes me. I don't doubt any other guy playing the sport. I play because when I was coming out, I felt like I wanted to be the man. So, I push myself."
On whether having a first-round draft pick like WR Michael Crabtree will help him running the ball:
"It will help a whole lot, especially when he comes in and do what he did in college. That would be a big factor to our offense and to our team. Then we'll see more like a seven-man box, than what we've been seeing, eight-, nine-men box. If you can't run against a seven-man box, you shouldn't run the ball at all."
(FANTASY NOTE: Another good point by Gore, and this is something you can apply to every team in the league. If a team has a passing threat that must be accounted for, the easier it will be for a rusher to pick up yardage. However, last year Adrian Peterson and Michael Turner saw a lot of eight-in-the-box and still racked up huge stats. That should speak volumes about their abilities. Gore's done it before, too -- if Crabtree can help right away it will do wonders for his numbers.)
On whether he thought he would get more passes than he ended up getting in last year's offensive scheme:
"I did. I did, but just going [inaudible]. The other running backs we had, but things didn't work out. The quarterback situation, switching quarterbacks, just things didn't work out how we planned it to work."
On how he feels physically:
"I feel good. I feel real good. I feel real good."
On when the ankle started to feel better:
"After, when I came back, I did a mini-camp practice, I started feeling like I got better, then I started to be able to train more, and the more I started training, the better, the stronger my ankle got."
On whether that happened in the April mini-camp:
"Yeah. I felt that when I practiced, that I was alright, that I could move around. So, the more I started training the stronger I got. But, now I feel better."
On whether there was anything different in his offseason training this year:
"I was at home. I was in Miami more than the last couple of years. I would usually be out here first, but I've been in Miami training with my trainer. But, it's been about the same."