Print and Go Back ESPN.com: NFL Nation [Print without images]

Friday, December 20, 2013
Coaches won't miss this Candlestick quirk

By Bill Williamson

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- Vic Fangio and Greg Roman have to do the halftime race just one more time.

No, the 49ers coordinators will not miss it.

One of the many quirks of Candlestick Park -- which hosts its final game Monday night when the 49ers play Atlanta -- is that the location of the coaches' box requires a long journey to the locker room at halftime and after games. Coaches from both the 49ers and the visiting team have to take a crowded, small elevator, then navigate through the stands -- yes, the stands -- to get on the field. Then, they have to go through the San Francisco Giants' old dugout and race to the locker room.

What does offensive coordinator Roman think about every time he has to do the halftime song-and-dance?

"I've got to get more exercise in because I'm breathing really hard by the time I hit that elevator," Roman said. "We all are. We just look at each other when we hit the elevator and go, 'Man, we've got to get more exercise.' But, yeah it's interesting. It's definitely part of the lore of Candlestick Park."

But it doesn't leave much time for halftime adjustments. Fangio, the defensive coordinator, figures they are in the locker room for six or seven minutes. So, as for as halftime work goes, it is been better to be on the road than at Candlestick.

 "You don't feel the stress," Fangio said. "You know you're going to get up and out, up and down at a normal stadium. Here you've always got to fight through the crowd, which can be a little bit chaotic at times. Just nobody's fault. There are just a lot of people going up and down those steps. And then you've always got the elevator there. You might have to wait for it. There's only one, where these new stadiums usually have a bank of three or four there. But, luckily in the last three years, we've been fairly successful at home and the fans have been cordial going up and down."

Still, it is a feature of Candlestick neither coach will miss.

In other 49ers' news:

All 53 players on the roster practiced Friday. Guard Mike Iupati remains limited and will likely be listed as questionable to play Monday night.

Roman said receiver Mario Manningham is improving every week. He's been active the past six weeks after being out with a knee injury he suffered in December. Manningham's playing time has dwindled since Michael Crabtree came back three games ago. But he may get a chance for some more playing time. The 49ers may do more three-receiver sets now that fullback Bruce Miller is out for the year.

Fangio said cornerback Tarell Brown played well on the left side in nickel situations last week. It was the first time he's played on that side in the past three years. He lost his starting job to Tramaine Brock when he suffered a rib injury last month.