San Francisco 49ers: Position Battles Highlight Preseason Opener

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Running Backs

May 31, 2014; Los Angeles, CA, USA; San Francisco 49ers running back Carlos Hyde during the 2014 NFLPA Rookie Premiere at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The running backs have been the focus of training camp thus far. What was once a position with incredible depth is now surrounded by question marks. After Kendall Hunter‘s torn ACL and LaMichael James‘ elbow injury, do the 49ers have any answers behind the ageless Frank Gore?

Like in years past, Gore is not expected to play much — or at all — in the preseason, opening the door for others to get significant playing time against the Ravens’ legitimate first-string defense.

Rookie Carlos Hyde, who is expected to start the season as San Francisco’s second-string running back, should get plenty of carries on Thursday night and throughout the entire preseason.

Hopefully for the 49ers, second-year running back Marcus Lattimore — who esentially redshirted last season due to another ACL injury — gets some snaps during the preseason. It seems as if he will not play on Thursday though because he has yet to practice despite healing from his injury.

Other running backs to watch on Thursday include the undrafted Jewel Hampton and the newly-signed Alfonso Smith, as they will be competing to make San Francisco’s roster.