SANTA CLARA — Carlos Hyde flashed a smile that reflected pure admiration Thursday when discussing Frank Gore, the legend he might eventually succeed in the 49ers' backfield.
For now, Hyde is just thrilled to be in position to learn from the 49ers' all-time leading rusher.
"Being able to watch Frank Gore and have an opportunity to learn from him is awesome," said Hyde, a second-round draft pick last week out of Ohio State. "Not too many people get to learn from a guy who's probably going to the Hall of Fame. I'm going to really pay attention to him and take notes."
Hyde hasn't yet crossed paths with Gore since arriving this week for offseason workouts. Gore gets his work in early in the mornings, and he's usually leaving just as Hyde arrives.
"That was a guy, even before I got drafted, that I was already comparing myself to -- he and Marshawn Lynch," Hyde said, "because those guys are relentless with the ball and they run tough."
Hyde did meet Gore earlier this spring while training at Bommartio Performance Systems in North Miami Beach.
"They've very, very different players ... but one thing in common is their love for football. Frank lives and breathes football," Pete Bommarito said Thursday in a phone interview. "It's good for Carlos to be around guys like that, to see what it takes to be a consummate pro."
Bommarito described Hyde's style as the "prototype of today's NFL," whereas he can be both a bruising back and also a receiving threat.
Hyde (6-foot, 235 pounds) is the biggest back in the 49ers' stable, which includes Gore (5-9, 217), Kendall Hunter (5-7, 199), LaMichael James (5-9, 195), Jewell Hampton (5-9, 210) and the untested Marcus Lattimore (5-11, 211).
Hyde's most likely role is to assume the short-yardage spot which the 49ers occasionally attempted to fill in past seasons with now-Buffalo Bills tailback Anthony Dixon (6-1, 233).
"The standard for bigger backs is 4.6. He's an exceptional big back with 4.5 speed," Bommarito said.
Hyde strained his left hamstring running the 40-yard dash (in 4.66 seconds) at February's scouting combine. He ran again for scouts prior to the draft earlier this month.
Gore's been training with Bommarito since before the 2005 draft, when the 49ers took a third-round gamble on the Miami tailback with two surgically repaired knees. Gore was unavailable for comment Thursday.
"The main thing Frank was doing here was we prepared him and got his body aligned for OTAs and what (the 49ers) wanted," Bommarito said. "He looks about the same as always. It's not like he ages."
Gore, who turned 31 on Wednesday, has turned several 49ers teammates onto Bommarito since the 2011 collective bargaining agreement restricted players' ability to work out at team facilities early in the offseason.
Quarterback Colin Kaepernick worked out there for two months after the Super Bowl, along with wideout Quinton Patton and linebacker Nick Moody. Wideout Anquan Boldin and linebacker NaVorro Bowman also have trained there.
Hyde says his Ohio State upbringing has him ready to also protect Kaepernick, both in the pocket and out of it.
As for why he described his own running style as "violent" when interviewed on draft day, Hyde replied: "I just run with anger. I don't shy away from contact. I'm a relentless runner, a guy who's always scratching and clawing for those extra yards."