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Wednesday, December 18, 2013
Anthony Dixon ready for expanded role

By Bill Williamson

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- In high school or while at Mississippi State, the last thing Anthony Dixon thought about was what do fullbacks do?

Fullback?

Dixon was a tailback, baby. A star running back. All he knew was the fullback was in front of him to help him eat yards.

"I don't know anything about lead blocking," said Dixon, who was a 1,400-plus yard rusher his senior season in college.

However, the NFL often changes a player's priorities. It is an adjust-or-go-find-another-line-of-work business. In his four NFL seasons, Dixon has been a reserve running back and special teams player. He has yearned to do more.

Now, he has his opportunity.

"I'm ready to be the fullback," he said. "That's where my opportunity is. So, I'm going to take it."

Dixon appears to be first in line to replace Bruce Miller as the 49ers' primary fullback. Miller was put on the injured reserve Wednesday with a broken scapula. He was injured in the fourth quarter at Tampa Bay on Sunday. Dixon replaced him when he was hurt.

The 49ers have other options, including using more three-receiver sets and more double tight-end sets. But Miller was on the field for nearly 60 percent of the team's plays. Dixon should get his chances.

A big part of being a successful fullback is desire. Dixon has plenty of it.

"I like playing that role," said Dixon, who as Miller's backup has practiced the spot a lot. "I have that desire."

San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick is interested in seeing Dixon in the role.

"He's someone who has no fear running through holes, taking on linebackers," Kaepernick said. "He kind of lives for that type of thing. So, I'm excited to see what he can do when he gets in there. He normally has a pretty good feel for the game. To see him in there as a full-time guy or however they end up working it out. It'll be interesting to see how he plays game day."