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Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Randy Cross' advice for Mike Iupati

By Mike Sando

While we're on the subject of San Francisco 49ers calling out other 49ers, let's consider what one former San Francisco offensive lineman is saying about a current one.

Randy Cross, who went to multiple Pro Bowls playing for the greatest 49ers teams, thinks rookie first-round guard Mike Iupati is headed for a disappointing career -- unless Iupati follows Cross' advice to stop engaging defenders so aggressively.

"Every time I've seen this potential annual All-Pro approach a defender, he engulfs defenders with his arms, with his hands, ending up in hugging position," Cross writes. "Mike, embrace the term 'within the frame of the defender's body' and get those hands on the numbers at the defender's chest at ALL times."

Cross isn't just some old-timer whining about the current generation. He's touching upon a subject Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee covered in detail earlier in camp.

Defensive lineman Demetric Evans put it this way: "I could tell he really dominated in college because his technique is such that he likes to get his hands on you and stop your momentum. And I know he must have done a lot of that in college. He's going to have to work on his technique a little bit because guys are a lot stronger and a lot more athletic."

Officials flagged Iupati for holding early in the fourth quarter of the 49ers' game against the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday night. The defender went low on his own. Iupati did engulf him with his arms as both went to the ground. Holding penalties are easy to track during the regular season. The officials will determine to what extent Iupati must change.

The 49ers' new offensive line coach, Mike Solari, has a reputation for being a good teacher. You can bet he's working with Iupati on this issue independent of what Evans, Cross or anyone else might be saying. The 49ers drafted Iupati for his physical ability and nasty on-field demeanor. They can teach him better fundamentals.