Jimmy Raye, the 49ers' offensive philosopher-coordinator, offered some thoughts on rookie running back Anthony Dixon.
"I like him," the long-time assistant said, breaking into a wide grin. "Though there are times I want to strangle him. He's young, and you know how they say youth is wasted on the young. He's young and he's learning. He's running over the quarterback and the lines. He's just having fun, and he's learning what to do."
It isn't hard to see where Raye is coming from. At 233 pounds, Dixon presents a rare combination of power and agility. He can catch the ball out of the backfield.
The 49ers are trying to get Dixon to get his pads lower and run north-south. They see him as a potential change of pace alongside Frank Gore, and they want him to be tough and decisive.
"I can't run as high as I used to in college, you know, because some of them guys are small in college," Dixon said. "I could just stiff 'em off and keep on going. But not at this level. These are grown men out there, and they're strong."
As Raye said: "He's a big-body man with quick feet, and we anticipate he will give us an inside, physically dominant presence in the later part of the season."
Dixon could be an interesting player, but it's doubtful he'll take a large amount of work away from Frank Gore in 2010.