Frank Gore explains Ole Miss diss; expects to play vs. Giants

On a conference call with the Bay Area media Wednesday, Giants quarterback Eli Manning said he wasn’t sure why Niners running back Frank Gore ultimately decided to sign with Miami instead of joining Manning at Ole Miss in 2001.

“Y’all can ask him that,” Manning said.

Today, following Manning’s suggestion, we did ask Gore about why he stayed in his home state for college. He explained that his late mother was in declining health and Miami coaches offered a persuasive sales pitch.

“They were like: ‘You want to be the best? Then come play with the best. I know you’re not scared of competing. Come to Miami,’” Gore said.
Gore also discussed his status for Sunday’s game and sounded like a running back who will be ready to go. He said his left ankle felt much better than it did in the days leading up to the 24-23 win against the Eagles in Week 4. Gore, a game-time decision, rushed for 127 carries on 15 carries and scored the game-winning touchdown against Philadelphia.

Here’s the Q&A with Gore:

Q: You thought about playing at Ole Miss?
FG: I was looking at wanting to play early. I thought going to Ole Miss I had a chance to start. But, you know, I had my mom situation. And (Miami) coach C.J. (Curtis Johnson), the receiver coach from New Orleans, and coach Kiel (?), they really recruited me good.
They were like: “You want to be the best? Then come play with the best. I know you’re not scared of competing. Come to Miami.”

Q: You wound up getting a lot of carries as a true freshman. And then the following spring you beat out McGahee for the starting job, right?
FG: Yeah, I was going to be named the starter. And I was a freshman All-American. I was just young, coming out of high school, wanting to play. You look at that Miami roster and they had Najeh Davenport, McGahee, Clinton Portis.
If I go to Ole Miss, Deuce (McCallister), he was leaving. And there wasn’t anybody there. He was leaving.

Q: When was that trip?
FG: I forgot. It was my senior year, though.

Q: During football season?
FG: I don’t remember.

Q: Did you see a game?
FG: Nah. But Eli was like, ‘Yeah, man, we’re going to be like Peyton and Edgerrin James if you come here.’ It was cool. It was cool.

Q: Had he been the QB at that point?
FG: Yeah, he was the quarterback.

Q: But had he been THE quarterback?
FG: Yeah.

Q: Thoughts on Giants run defense?
FG: They play well as a group. You look at statistics and they say they don’t play well against the run, but when you watch film … in the Buffalo game, he had an 80-yard run and finished up with like 110, 120 (yards). So they’ve got to be doing something good, give up an 80-yard run, but only give up 120. It’s just that they broke down on that one play. But they play well as a group.

Q: Is their defensive line they similar to the Lions in how they rotate so much?
FG: As a group, they’re probably more athletic. They’ve got some big guys, (Justin) Tuck. They play well together.

Q: How do feel physically?
FG: I feel good. I’ll practice today, and practice Friday, and get ready for Sunday.

Q: Do you feel a lot better than (before the Eagles game)?
FG: Yeah. Yeah.

Q: If you guys secure a playoff spot early, would you be OK playing less and less in December as the playoffs approach?
FG: It’s up to coach. Whatever he feels is best for our team, for us. (That’s) what we would do. I don’t have any say-so, should I play less, or whatever. Whatever coach Harbaugh wants to do, that’s what we’re going to do.

Q: Is there a fine line? You want to be sharp for the playoffs and you would need a certain number of carries to stay sharp?
FG: Like I said, whatever coach wants us to do, that’s what I’m going to do.

Click here to order Frank Gore’s proCane Rookie Card.

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