49ers Blog and Q&A

News, notes and reader questions about the San Francisco 49ers

October 7, 2011
Rookie fullback showing "violence on the boundary"

With veteran fullback Moran Norris (fibula) out for Sunday's game and occasional fullback Isaac Sopoaga (staph infection) doubtful to play, the 49ers are down to one at the position: rookie Bruce Miller.


Miller struggled at times in the 49ers' Week 3 win over the Bengals but, along with the rest of the team's blockers, bounced back nicely against the Eagles. "I've seen an improvement in Bruce every day, really," offensive coordinator Greg Roman said. "He's gotten better since he's gotten here. He's one of those guys that when you correct something, it gets corrected and you really don't have to revisit it."

Miller also caught a sideline pass that he took upfield for 15 yards and then punctuated with a solid hit on the Eagles safety. The rookie flipped the ball to his opponent for good measure, something that Roman characterized as "a little swagger."

"We call it violence on the boundary," Roman said. "He dropped his shoulder and nailed the defender to the ground. So, really a perfectly executed play." The 49ers also have placed tight end Delanie Walker in the backfield this season and also could do so with tight end Justin Peelle.

Sopoaga officially is listed as doubtful and cornerback Shawntae Spencer (toe) is questionable on the injury report. Jim Harbaugh said that there was a "good chance" that rookie cornerback Chris Culliver's role would increase this week.

Frank Gore (knee), Michael Crabtree (foot), Adam Snyder (hamstring) and Mike Iupati (neck) are probable. Tampa Bay starting cornerback Aqib Talib was back at practice after missing Thursday's session with a knee injury. He is listed as probable.

-- Matt Barrows


Matt was born in Blacksburg, Va., and attended the University of Virginia. He graduated in 1995, went to Northwestern for a journalism degree a year later, and got his first job at a South Carolina daily in 1997. He joined The Bee as a Metro reporter in 1999 and started covering the 49ers in 2003. His favorite player of all time is Darrell Green.


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