Fred Beasley Still Faces Limited Role
May 30 2002
By Bryan Hersh of 49ers Paradise
Fullback Fred Beasley was challenged last season. Beasley had to be a productive player without seeing much of the ball. Despite being a rather large part of the 49ers offense in his earlier years with the club, the addition of a few more weapons reduced Beasley to a blocking role with very few touches of the ball. Beasley stepped up to meet the challenge, further emphasizing his spot among the best full backs in the NFL.
This season should be rather similar for Beasley. The team has as many weapons on offense, and some of those weapons are expected to be even more productive this season than they were last. So despite Beasley having shown us his soft hands, and ability to go down field and make a clutch reception, Beasley will be running ahead of the ball, instead of with it or to it.
Rather than using Beasley as a receiving threat, or ball carrier the team will use a mix of Garrison Hearst, Kevan Barlow and Terry Jackson (providing the restricted free agent re-signs). These three players are more versatile than Beasley, but certainly in cycling one of them in, in place of Beasley ruins the surprise aspect of throwing the ball to the tight end. With the team re-implementing the split back formation, Beasley may see even fewer balls come his way, as the team tries to get Kevan Barlow a few more touches.
One offensive formation that the team may also try out this season is using Beasley and Kevan Barlow or Garrison Hearst in the split back formation, while Garrison Hearst or Terry Jackson lines up as a receiver. This could be the most effective way to put all of the talent the team has on the field, and would likely wreak havoc on opposing defenses. But as far as actually touching the ball goes, Fred Beasley is expected to once again see a limited role.