By Jenny Vrentas
Pro Football Writers of America
MIAMI—The 49ers held a spirited practice Thursday outdoors at the University of Miami under a warm mid-afternoon sun. Players were bobbing along to hip-hop and rap beats blaring from sideline speakers and broke into cheers multiple times to celebrate big plays by both the starting offense and defense. The biggest ovation came on a touchdown scored by the starting offense against a scout-defense look.
“Guys were excited,” said head coach Kyle Shanahan. “They have a ton of energy, so they are ready to go.”
Linebacker Kwon Alexander (pectoral), running back Tevin Coleman (shoulder) and safety Jaquiski Tartt (ribs) were limited in practice for the second straight day. “No change,” Shanahan said. “They’re going to be good to go.”
Players wore helmets and shells for the 1-hour, 42-minute practice, which focused on their nickel installations as well as a review of Wednesday’s first- and second-down plays. The 49ers usually practice in pads on Thursdays, but Shanahan opted against it today since they already got in one padded practice last week in Santa Clara.
“I don’t think they need the pads,” Shanahan said. “I’m trying to make sure we get into the game healthy.”
Temperatures were in the mid-70s, but with no cloud cover, it felt much hotter on the field than on Wednesday. Shanahan noted that the temperatures felt a little like training camp, so players were reminded to hydrate. “I’m sure it’s going to be a little warmer and humid for the game also,” he said.
The FOX broadcast team of Troy Aikman, Joe Buck, Erin Andrews and Chris Myers was watching practice, along with Westwood One’s Tony Boselli and Laura Okmin. Today’s practice was the 49ers’ last full-speed session of the week; the plan is for Friday to be mainly a walk-through, Shanahan said. Shanahan’s message to the team at the end of practice as they broke down the huddle at mid-field was to make sure they are getting their rest as families and friends start arriving.
“I told them we are getting toward the end here,” Shanahan said. “Most of the physical work’s put in, but we have to rest our minds and our bodies so we are ready to go on Sunday.”