SMITH READY TO TAKE HIS SHOT
But now Smith is ready to make his splash in the backfield. He is practicing at full speed and will see his first preseason action Saturday when the Niners play the Seattle Seahawks at 3Com Park. "I'm ready to go," Smith said Wednesday. "I've got my legs healed up. I think I'm back on pace as far as being full-speed and getting the timing down and everything." Smith fell behind when he missed more than a week of twice-daily practices in Stockton. That allowed Hearst - attempting a comeback from a career-threatening ankle injury after a two-year layoff - to step to the forefront at the position. Training camp began with coaches indicating Smith, Hearst and rookie Kevan Barlow would compete for the starting position. But Smith's name was tentatively listed first on the depth chart at the time. That distinction now belongs to Hearst. "He's probably ahead of us as far as getting the starting role and having the whole offense thrown on his shoulders in the running game," Smith said. "He is, as of right now, the starting man." Smith's audition for that role begins this week. With 72 yards rushing on 18 carries last year, he is the team's leading returning rusher at tailback. "Coaches want to see me do everything - run, block and catch out of the backfield," Smith said. "I just have to keep doing what I have to do, keep working hard and show these coaches how much I want it."
Niners Digest Top Stories
Week 7: Beyond The Box ScoresFantasy Football Expert Mark Morales-Smith looks at some interesting stats and situations from five critical Week 6 matchups as he examines the box scores.
Scout FantasyTuesday at 9:28 AM
Kaepernick shows up in Muhammad Ali shirt49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick shows up to Orchard Park for his first start of the year wearing a Muhammad Ali shirt.
ScoutSunday at 11:21 AM
Week 2: Fantasy Football Deep SleepersFantasy Football Expert Jack Delaney reveals some under-the-radar players that could help you gain an edge in your Week 2 matchup.
Week 7: Waiver Wire & Free Agent PickupsThe Fantasy Exec reveals his top Week 7 waiver wire and free agent pickups!
Scout FantasyWednesday at 12:30 PM
Daily Dr. Roto: Week 7 Waiver Wire WednesdayIt's Waiver Wire Wednesday! Dr. Roto reveals a few players at each position you should consider adding to your Fantasy squad!
Scout FantasyWednesday at 10:27 AM