SANTA CLARA – Running back Carlos Hyde opened training camp on the non-football injury list with a calf injury. The move was nothing more than a precaution.
The following day, Hyde was activated off the list after passing a physical.
“The strain is behind me,” Hyde said Saturday. “(I’m) looking forward to tonight.”
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The 49ers are scheduled to hold their first full-squad practice of training camp on Saturday night at Levi’s Stadium. And it will be the first time someone other than Frank Gore will enter camp as the 49ers’ No. 1 running back since the summer of 2005.
Hyde, a second-round draft pick in 2014, is the presumptive starter to replace Gore. He spent his rookie year behind Gore, who racked up his eighth 1,000-yard season in 10 years with the 49ers. The 49ers did not offer Gore a competitive contract as a free agent, and Gore signed with the Indianapolis Colts in the offseason.
As a rookie, Hyde rushed for 333 yards and four touchdowns on 83 attempts. He missed the final two games of the season with an ankle sprain.
“Last year definitely helped me ease into the NFL, get a better understanding of the game and see how things work,” Hyde said. “Now I’m like ready to go.”
The left side of the 49ers’ offensive line appears set with Joe Staley at tackle and Alex Boone at guard. There will likely be competition at the other three positions on the line.
“Right now, I’m just working on getting good chemistry with the offensive line,” Hyde said. “You know, try to build that chemistry so we can go into the season and I know exactly how my guys are. So when we’re running the ball, we can catch a rhythm and get going.”
But Hyde also knows he cannot leave all of the blocking the guys in front of him. Running backs coach Tom Rathman places a premium on his backs being able to pick up blitzes. That discipline could determine which back is on the field in passing situations.
“Pass protection is bigger than you rushing for 200 yards in a game,” Hyde said. “Coach Rathman stresses pass protection over and over. I understand that’s important.
“Pass protection is definitely important to give our quarterback time to throw the ball to make plays and take some of the guys out of the box because the quarterback is throwing the ball. That opens the running lanes up for me and the offensive line to do our jobs.”