|Frank Gore lobbies for playing time in Niners' preseason finale|
|Written by Admin|
|Monday, 27 August 2007 13:15|
Yet coach Mike Nolan probably won't listen to his Pro Bowl running back's pleas for a little playing time in Thursday's exhibition finale at San Diego.
Gore, who led the NFC with 1,695 yards rushing last season, hasn't suited up since breaking his right hand on the second day of training camp. With his hand almost completely healed, he has participated in certain drills during practice in the last two weeks.
``I want to be out there for my team,'' Gore said Monday. ``I miss being out there with the guys. But he's the coach, so I'll go with his decision. I feel really good, and I'm just working hard right now.''
Nolan has resisted Gore's pleas for playing time so far in the preseason - and if he wants to cite a precedent Thursday for his eager tailback, he can point across the field at San Diego's LaDainian Tomlinson, who hasn't played in a preseason game since a cameo appearance in 2005.
``He'll be our running back hopefully in next week's game,'' Nolan said of the 49ers' season opener against Arizona on Sept. 10. ``As much as he carried the ball last year, I think he's got it down.''
Gore carried the ball 312 times last season and caught a team-leading 61 passes for 485 yards. He's the engine driving the 49ers' offense - but he also has a lengthy injury history, including reconstructive surgery on both knees and both shoulders.
Gore might wear a protective guard on his hand this season, but isn't sure whether such a precaution would affect his ability. He hasn't tried it yet in practice, where he mostly sticks to individual drills.
``The more I practice, the more I pay attention to film of the defense I'll be playing against, I should be ready,'' Gore said. ``Once I get those first few carries out there, I'll be OK.''
Bryant Young also has sat out the 49ers' first three preseason games, but the veteran defensive end intends to get in the lineup for a few plays against the Chargers. Young is resting a back injury that shouldn't affect his 14th season with the Niners.
``It's always good to knock the cobwebs off a little bit and not let the first game be your first snap,'' said Young, who had 60 tackles and 5 1/2 sacks last season.
Young has started 124 of the 49ers' last 128 regular-season games since 1998, providing leadership and steady play through San Francisco's highs and lows. He moved to defensive end two seasons ago after spending most of his career as a tackle.
Though he hasn't participated in many practices during training camp, his time on the sideline has been spent mentoring his teammates and concentrating on his mental game.
``I really tried to stay mentally in tune with what was going on,'' Young said. ``I can remember earlier in my career when if I wasn't in practice, it was boring. But now I can get some good things out of it.''
Notes: Nolan ended Monday's practice 30 minutes early to keep his club fresh during its short week of preparation. ... Kwame Harris and rookie Joe Staley will get one last round of competition for the starting job at right tackle when they alternate playing time in San Diego. Both linemen will play two series apiece. ... Rookie S Dashon Goldson probably won't be available for the season opener, but could be ready shortly afterward. ... The 49ers formally placed WR C.J. Brewer on injured reserve and put DE Melvin Oliver on the reserve/physically unable to perform list.