SANTA CLARA -- Back in black?
The 49ers hope an all-black theme -- not just for the players' uniforms but also Levi's Stadium itself -- will pump energy into a building criticized for being a bit lifeless in its inaugural season last year.
The end zones and walls around the stadium have been painted black for Monday's game. And fans will find black t-shirts waiting on their seats when they arrive. Of course, the team also will wear its new, alternate uniform that features black pants, black jerseys and red stripes and numbering.
"It's slimming," joked coach Jim Tomsula, who typically wears black on the sideline. "... It's neat, it's cool. The guys like it. I'm trying to keep my connection to the younger generation."
The 49ers went 4-4 in Levi’s Stadium last year. And while the new facility offered far more amenities than Candlestick Park, it lacked the former stadium’s atmosphere.
“I just think it felt new,” receiver Anquan Boldin said. “For everybody -- not just the fans but the players as well. I don’t think we ever settled in the way that we wanted to. So I think it’s different this year. I think guys know what to expect, know the different spots on the field, know the lay of the land. It feels more like home now.”
The 49ers weren’t able to practice inside Levi's Stadium as much as they wanted to in training camp because the grass field didn't hold up as well as expected. But Tomsula noted they were there in the spring and that the comfort level with the facility, something he wanted to improve on this offseason, is good going into the game against the Vikings.
Last year, the team had two locker rooms, one inside their practice facility and another inside Levi's Stadium. The space inside the practice facility was converted into offices during the offseason, leaving Levi's as the only spot.
“We’ve been in this building locker room-wise and everything we’re doing that way,” Tomsula said. “So all that is extremely comfortable. Our training room is in here. So we’ve got all that going on day-to-day. We did get a nice amount of work in that stadium in the spring and in the fall. We got time. So yeah, I feel great about that.”
Boldin said he sensed excitement about the uniforms, which were designed by the players.
“The first game of the season, I think everyone will be amped up,” he said. “But to have it on a Monday night, going in the all-black (uniforms), I think it will be even better. I know the guys in the locker room are excited to play in the black jerseys, and the fans are (excited) as well. It will be a rockin’ atmosphere come Monday.”
Hayne playin'? -- Did Tomsula offer a hint about Jarryd Hayne's status Monday when he said the following?
“I tell you what, if I was in Australia, I’d have the NFL package and be watching every football game I could watch, because I just love football and know it’s a great game.”
Is there are particular reason for Aussies to watch, Jim?
"It's a phenomenal sport,” he said.
Brock looks good -- Tomsula said he didn’t see any indication that cornerback Tramaine Brock is still bothered by the hamstring injury he suffered last month. Brock, the only player on the 49ers injury report, is listed as probable for Monday’s game.