Running Decision Needed
September 20 2002
By Bryan Hersh of 49ers Paradise
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The 49ers keep saying that they wonít forget about the run game. Yet, so far this season, the 49ers have not made any moves on the field to convince the league, the fans or the team that they are indeed committed to the run. Against the Broncos, for example, the team only attempted 17 rushes. The team canít afford to be this one dimensional with the talent it has at running back.
I am in favor of sharing the load between Hearst and Barlow as the team did last season. I think the notion that Barlow should get more carries this season than last however is not in the best interest of the team. This is self evident by the lack of an establishment of a run game.
I am convinced that the team needs to let Hearst start the game and get into a groove, at that point the team can rotate in the Barlow. But only once the running game was established should the 49ers look to rotate their backs. This I believe is the key to getting a run game going.
The short runs by Fred Beasley or Paul Smith or Terry Jackson early in the game, are an ineffective way to get opponents to respect the teams run game. Some of you will differ in your views, believing that Barlow should be the one starting - and let me just say, that yes, the roles of Hearst and Barlow could be reversed under the circumstances outlined above, however, my personal preference right now is Hearst - that view may change by next season, but right now, I still believe Hearst is the better and more complete back. That however, is not what this article is about - this article is about the 49ers committing to the run, with one running back, before they add another to the mix. That in my opinion is the key to getting opponents to respect the run.