Gore: 'I want to be No. 1'

Frank Gore had his first 100-yard rushing game of the season during Sunday's blowout of the Lions, and this one was notable because it moved him past Kevan Barlow and Steve Young into seventh place among the 49ers' all-time leading career rushers. But that's not nearly good enough for Gore. He wants to be No. 1 - for the 49ers and in the NFL. Gore talked Monday about his quest for success.

Q: How pleased were you to be such a big part of the offense Sunday?
Gore:
It was sweet, man. Special. I'm trying to make plays on the field, you know. They were trying to play eight men in the box, and we started throwing the ball and we was doing a great job down the field. They had to get out of it, then we started running. If everybody stay on the same page, and keep doing what we're doing, most likely every week it's going to be like that.

Q: Do you have a Frank Gore Quota, the number of times you want to touch the ball?
Gore:
I just feel that you know, the more times that I touch it the better I am. And I just feel like when I get it going, I can do whatever they ask me to do. Whatever it takes to win, I'm with it man. If we have to throw the ball to win, let's do it, you know. If the running game is getting shut down and I have to catch balls, I'll do it. I just want to win. My mindset right now, it's all about winning.

Q: How much do you know about Reggie Bush?
Gore:
He's a great football player, man. He's very fast, he can stop on a dime. … He's a very good football player.

Q: Did that three-play touchdown drive really start to open things up for you? How much did it help you?
Gore:
A lot - a whole lot. As I say, the better we do down the field throwing the ball, the better it's going to help me. We just have to keep learning and keep playing hard and keep doing what we're doing.

Q: What have you learned the last couple of years about protecting your body so that you can handle all these touches?
Gore:
It's important, man. At first, my first year starting, I felt like I didn't need no massages or things like that. But now, I'm learning more that the better your body feels, the better you play. I get a massage Monday and Thursday, and I'm just trying to stay with it ... so it feels great. The better the body feels, the better you play.

Q: After your game yesterday, you moved past Kevan Barlow and Steve Young into seventh place on the team's all-time career rushing list. What's your feeling when you think about something like that?
Gore:
I really don't think about it. I'll probably think about it whenever - when I finish playing I'll look at that. Hopefully, I want to be at the top. I want to try to be No. 1. That would be great.

Q: You had 27 carries Sunday. Just how pleased are you with what Mike Martz has been doing with the running game?
Gore:
I'm like this: I've been talking to Martz all season, and I feel that when he knows that a player really cares about the game, he's going to try his best to get him the ball. When I talk to coach Martz, I tell him that, 'Coach, I want to be all I got.' I even asked him if he can help me be the best back in this league. Just by me watching Marshall (Faulk) in this offense, and I feel I can do the same thing, as long as I keep working hard, and just keep buying in and keep studying and believe that I can do it, it will happen.

Q: What would you rather do, run the ball or catch the ball?
Gore:
I'll do both, man. I'd rather do both. I like getting in space. I love being in space. Whatever it take to get me in space, I'm with it.

Q: What would you have to do to be considered the best back in the league?
Gore:
I just have to stay consistent, and I have to be an all-around player - block, catch the ball and try not to lose the ball. On the field, I've got to be the No. 1 rusher and try to be No. 1 overall in total yards. A lot of people that really don't know about football - who really don't watch football - would say you're No. 1, the best back in the league (by looking at stats).

Q: Do you check the stats on Monday and look where the other top guys stand?
Gore:
I always look at my competition, who I'm competing against, you know. I watch. I check everybody. I'm just that competitive. Like last night, when I saw Marion Barber run the ball, do a great job, I just say 'OK, that's it, I have to do this,' you know. I think everybody do that, though, who plays running back in this league.

Q: Do be recognized as the best back in the league, you know it's not just about stats. You want the other guys in football to look at you like that, right?
Gore:
You have to show them, you know? Whoever you're playing against, you have to show them that you can do all three things. And that's how they respect you, you know.

Q: You've already had some big blocks that stand out in pass protection this year. How much has your blocking improved this year, and how much is it becoming a strength of your game?
Gore:
Well, coming out of college, my running backs coach, that was one of his main things. He always told us that the only way you're going to be able to play for him is, you have to pass protect. I feel that everybody, all the best, they're pretty good blockers, just because how are coaches put it in our head. I've come a long way, especially from my rookie year, I got better each year. I take pride in doing it now, you know.

Q: Which star backs do you think are under-rated blockers?
Gore:
I'd say (Brian) Westbrook is under-rated. He'll step up in there. Who else? I would say … probably Willis McGahee, he blocks pretty good. And my boy (Clinton) Portis, he loves blocking.

Q: You rushed for almost 1,700 yards in 2006, but do you think right now you're far better an all-around back then you were then?
Gore:
I think I'm more experienced, more comfortable. I just let the game come to me. When I was younger, and first-year starter, I was trying to really get it. I just feel so much more comfortable, and just feel like everything is slowing down and I don't have to be always, like, uppity. It just feels better. I'm comfortable with everything, you know?

Q: You had good games in the first two weeks, but does your first 100-yard game of the season make you feel like you're rolling now?
Gore:
I feel like I was rolling from the Arizona game, really, you know what I'm saying? It's just that we couldn't get on the field. That second half of the Arizona game, I felt like I was going to do some crazy stuff. Seattle game was tough, they came in and played eight-man down, eight man across the front. But I know they were going to come in and try to stop me, but our receivers and our quarterback did a great job. … Whatever it takes, man, whatever it's going to have to take for us to win, I'm with it. Yesterday, they tried to come in and play eight-man down, and J.T. started throwing the ball and then they had to get back in coverage and we started back running now.

Q: You're a better 2-1 team this year than the 2-1 team you were at this time last year. Do you see this as a measuring stick game for you guys, to play New Orleans in the Superdome?
Gore:
I can't answer that question. Everybody in the league is tough, so I can't say that. They have a good defense, and they play well in the box. They play the run well, and their DBs are all right. They've got a good offense, Reggie Bush is doing pretty good. He's starting really fast this year. We'll see when we go up there. I know we're going to practice hard this week and watch film and the game plan and then we go from there. I think we're a different team over here now. It's fun. It's fun. It just seems so easy now. Especially coming from last year, we had to struggle to get across the 50(-yard line). And now, we're just putting 21 points up like nothing. Now we just have to keep believing, and keep doing it.



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