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What a Difference A Year Makes
May 5 2002
By Bryan Hersh of 49ers Paradise
A year ago at this time the 49ers had no starting running back. The team didnít know if Jeff Garcia was a fluke or really talented. The team couldnít have put together its defensive line if you paid them. There we questions about the development of the defensive backfield. At linebacker the team new they had just one player who they were sure of. About the only things the team knew at this point last year, was that the offensive line would return in its entirety and that the receiver position was set.

Just a year later the 49ers have one great running back and another youngster who looks to be the real deal to. It has extreme confidence in its quarterback. The defensive line may see some turnover, but at least the team has enough players to fill it this year. The starting defensive backfield is completely in place, and the finally has confidence in its nickel formations. At linebacker all three starters this season will have at least one years experience with the 49ers. And to top it all off, the team is content with its receiver and offensive line positions.

Itís astonishing what this team has done in just one year. Terry Donahue and his staff have done a remarkable job of assembling and retaining talented players. Coach Mariucci and his staff have also done an amazing job of orientating the players to the team and teaching them what it takes to succeed in the NFL.

The optimism throughout 49ers land runs high. Fans are once again eager, the team is expecting success, and bandwagon jumpers are climbing aboard. The 2002-3 49ers are rariní to go.

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