Might 49ers get a change-of-pace running back?

When 49ers coach Mike Singletary and GM Scot McCloughan met with the media at the NFC Scouting Combine last year, they both voiced a preference for the 49ers to add a young running back to the roster.


The 49ers did just that, as they selected running back Glen Coffee in the third round. But Singletary and McCloughan said a year ago they preferred a runner whose style differed from Gore’s. In Coffee, they got a no-nonsense runner who is similar to Gore.


Coffee had a strong training camp and exhibition season, but was pushed to the backburner once the regular season started.


There has been some speculation that the 49ers could select a running back who differs from the Gore/Coffee mold of making one cut and getting up the field. The name C.J. Spiller has been mentioned as a possibility with the No. 13 overall pick.


Today, I asked McCloughan and Singletary about the possibility of selecting a running back with a more change-of-pace style.


“We could,” McCloughan said. “It comes down to what would be his role with us? Is there any special-teams value involved in it? Where you take him in the draft is going to say what the role is going to be and how soon we think he could help us.


“Frank Gore is a really good football player for us. And we think he can be a good football player for us for the next couple years. We also understand that we can’t count on him forever. If you can start limiting the carries now, he might not like it, but you protect him. Our vision is we play the 16 games and get to the playoffs. And we need for him to be healthy for us to do that.”


Singletary said the 49ers already have their main man at running back.


“We have the guy in Frank Gore,” Singletary said. “This young man wants the ball all the time. But I do think it’s important to have a complementary back. Glen Coffee made great strides last year. I think he’ll continue to make good strides this year. And you’re always looking to add good football players.”


Gore rushed for 1,120 yards and 10 touchdowns on 229 carries, while Coffee averaged just 2.7 yards (226 yards on 83 rushes).


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