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The 49ers Shuffle
April 28 2002
By Bryan Hersh of 49ers Paradise
During mini-camp the 49ers continued their shuffling ways. Not only did the offensive line take the field with Dave Fiore and Ron Stone flip flopped, but the team made a change in the offensive backfield too. The 49ers never seem content to leave players be, or maybe it's that the players are never fully content with their positions, either way the team continued to make changes.

Last season the depth chart read that Terry Jackson was a fullback and Paul Smith a halfback. This season however, the two have swapped roles. It will be Jackson as a running back, and Smith as a fullback.

Terry Jackson has been considered the 49ers 'versatile', or 'third down' back for quite some time. Typically these players are more halfbacks than they are fullbacks. So changing the name here makes sense - but it also pushes Jackson down the depth chart. As a halfback he will be behind two players, Garrison Hearst, and Kevan Barlow as opposed to one.

The team has liked what they have seen from Paul Smith from the get go. Smith really impressed the team though, when he was asked to fill in for both Fred Beasley and Terry Jackson at fullback two seasons ago. Smith had a great game despite never even practicing in the position with the team before. Smith added ten pounds of muscle this off-season and with the extra weight he is now the idea candidate to backup Fred Beasley. The move pushes Smith up the depth chart, with only one other - Beasley, ahead of him.

The 49ers are still likely to use Jackson more than Smith, despite the apparent change on the depth charts. Still if Beasley were to be forced out for quite some time, it would likely be Smith, not Jackson, who assumed the starting role.

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