You gotta love Harbaugh, Baalke the Scouts and the Coaches all working together. Rathman didn't see Miller as a fullback on the tape.....but he trusted the scouts and when Miller came to the 49ers they discovered how athletic he was. The thing that I like about Miller is that he is very athletic, and you see him making some great blocks down the field. A lot of the big gore & hunter runs you see BRUISE Miller leading the charge.
A lot of the guys on the board and the draft experts didnt like a lot of the picks because they couldn't see instant starters. The other criticism was that the Niners were taking a lot of "project" players and trusting their great coaches to do their magic. WELL WE HAVE THE ANSWER TO THAT.....these guys can coach and we have one of our greatest "FBs" in niner history coaching up the running backs. Love that Rathman is one of coaches and is a link to the great 49er teams and he talks about it below.
Here's some great quotes from Rathman on Miller
Full article below....
Q: Do you have a Bruce Miller plan?
RATHMAN: The plan was to get him ready to go. He's got to learn the position. I didn't even know if he could play the position. But obviously you get him in here and see what he can do athletically and say "Wow. This guy's got a chance." He's a very athletic kid. The thing you say to yourself when you first get him is that you don't know what he's going to be when he first puts the pads on. Then you put the pads on and it's a totally different game playing in line with all those violent collisions. That's what you have to be. He hasn't been exposed to it. A backer is five yards off the ball and he's five yards behind the line of scrimmage, it's a totally different game. He's adjusting to it and still learning. We've got him on the sled a lot, getting on that sled and bang it as much as possible due to that he's not a player that's been in the offensive position, the fullback position. We're a work in progress, but we're climbing the hill so to speak.
Q: What did you see from the scout film on Bruce Miller and what was it like trying to convert him?
RATHMAN: I didn't see it on film, the film I looked at. They trusted their instincts as far as the scouts on drafting the kid. He's ours, so what do we do with him? We're going to make him into a player. That's the way I approach it. When we did draft him on draft day, I thought that if anybody can do it, I can do it. It was a great challenge I took upon myself – to develop a defensive lineman into a fullback. Typically players that play in line, on the line of scrimmage, don't translate to backfield play. They're totally different games. The intrigue, the way you approach it, the type of blocks that you have to have, and here's a kid that never has had to block before. He's a developing product right now. Still improving, still needs to get better. But it's been a solid job to date.
Q: What's the tough love approach do you have with the rookie backs?
RATHMAN: I played here when the 49ers were outstanding in the '80s early '90s – it was a high standard. It's just like what we're doing now and we're winning then. There was a certain standard that was upheld when you're in the locker room, when you're on the field, when you're out at practice, going out and executing in games. Those were the things that you try to teach these guys as they come in here. You want to hold them up the standards that I was held up to when I first came in here. There's a certain way to do things and the bottom line is: you've got to get your job done out on the football field. It doesn't matter what you're up against, you've got to do it.