San Francisco 49ers

49ers notes: Team sticks to Levi’s despite choppy start

A San Francisco 49ers player runs on the field at Levi's Stadium during the team's NFL football training camp in Santa Clara, Calif., Saturday, Aug. 1, 2015. It took less than a half-hour into the 49ers’ first practice for the Levi’s Stadium sod to come up in pieces, also only a couple of hours after the venue hosted a high school all-star game.
A San Francisco 49ers player runs on the field at Levi's Stadium during the team's NFL football training camp in Santa Clara, Calif., Saturday, Aug. 1, 2015. It took less than a half-hour into the 49ers’ first practice for the Levi’s Stadium sod to come up in pieces, also only a couple of hours after the venue hosted a high school all-star game. AP

The 49ers aren’t wavering from their plan to spend the early part of training camp in Levi’s Stadium despite rough patches on the playing surface. The grass took a beating Saturday when the team’s first full-squad session of training camp followed a high school all-star game.

Still, the issue may have been more aesthetic than safety-related. There was no widespread slipping as there was a year ago when Jim Harbaugh halted practice and then marched his players off to their usual practice fields. And the middle of the field – where most action takes place – held up well.

Only one player, rookie wide receiver Isaac Blakeney, was injured Saturday. He suffered a muscle pull and didn’t practice Sunday.

After Saturday’s night practice, grounds crews took heavy rollers to the field. It was in better shape for Sunday’s 4:15 p.m. practice that also produced many divots but no apparent injuries. The 49ers’ first eight afternoon practices are scheduled to be held at Levi’s in an effort to increase the team’s comfort level in the still-new facility.

“We’re going out there, (and) we’re going to practice on the game field,” coach Jim Tomsula said. “We feel like we’re in a good spot with the game field.”

Tomsula has an open line of communication with the players. If they had safety concerns, the team would practice on its nearby fields, which are in excellent shape.

“If there was a safety risk, we wouldn’t be out there practicing,” nose tackle Ian Williams said.

Proud teacher – Former quarterback Kurt Warner attended Sunday’s practice as an NFL Network analyst. His stop in Santa Clara also gave him a chance to watch quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who was Warner’s pupil early in the offseason.

Warner and other instructors at the EXOS training facility in Phoenix helped Kaepernick work on his pocket skills, and Warner said he could see the results during the 49ers’ afternoon session.

“No question,” Warner said. “You see the (mechanics of the) legs a little bit. … You’re starting to see him understand playing the quarterback position a little more. Talking to guys and coaches out here, (they talk about Kaepernick’s) ability to throw with touch, the ability to anticipate things.”

Warner said he was struck that Kaepernick was sacked 52 times last season, the second most of any quarterback.

“The hardest part for an athletic quarterback is to figure out that balance between, ‘How long do I become a passer, and when do I become an athlete and be special that way?’” Warner said.

Dockett didn’t practice – Free-agent acquisition Darnell Dockett hasn’t practiced yet. But Tomsula said it had more to do with what the 49ers were practicing than the ACL injury from which the veteran defensive lineman is recovering.

The 49ers spent the opening session working on base packages on defense. Dockett, 34, will be used in nickel situations, which in some games – against Green Bay, for example – could be the team’s dominant package. The 49ers have employed their nickel defense as much as 50 percent of the time in previous years.

“He’s ready to go,” Tomsula said of Dockett. “There’s no limitations on him from the training room.”

Williams, Quinton Dial and Glenn Dorsey composed the team’s first-string defensive line early in training camp.

Mixed nuts – Said Aldon Smith when asked what it was like to play with Dockett, who some say is a little “nuts”: “It’s pretty good, because I think everybody’s a little nuts.”

Matt Barrows: @mattbarrows, read more about the team at sacbee.com/sf49ers.

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