Davis, Iupati named offensive line starters

Tackle Davis and guard Iupati take advantage of injuries and impress the 49ers coaching staff in workouts. Baas moves to center with injury to Heitmann.

SANTA CLARA, Calif. – To no one's surprised, rookie first-round draft picks Anthony Davis and Mike Iupati were officially declared starters on the San Francisco 49ers' offensive line Monday. Both had been taking reps with the first team since last week, in part because of injuries, but coach Mike Singletary said he made his decision after speaking with offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye and offensive line coach Mike Solari.

"We feel like we've seen enough," Singletary said after the morning practice. "Nothing is permanent, but as of right now, they're the starters.

Davis, the 11th overall pick in the first round, supplants Adam Snyder at right guard. Iupati, the 17th selection, moves in at left guard ahead of David Baas. As it turned out, Baas was needed at center for starter Eric Heitmann, who suffered an injury to his left leg and had to be carted off the field.

The change is nothing new for Baas, who said he's grown accustomed to playing both guard positions and even played center in 2006. He sustained a mild concussion early in training camp and didn't return to contact drills until the weekend, giving Iupati much-needed work.

"Throughout my career here, I've been moved around a lot," Baas said. "This is nothing new to me. I've just got to be ready to step up and take on the challenge, and I think I'm ready for that."

Baas said the biggest component to playing center is making the correct offensive line calls, something he's working on now.

"The biggest thing is that the guys have to believe in you," he said. "You have to be confident, and you have to make those calls quick and precise. Heitmann does an awesome job of that. I'm trying to get to his level. I'm going to get more and more reps, and the guys have to believe in me and listen to my calls."

PRACTICE CUT SHORT: The Niners' morning workout was filled with errors and lethargic play, so Singletary said he cut it short during a two-minute drill and called his players together in a huddle on the field.

"I told them, ‘Guys, I really appreciate the effort, (but) it's obvious that you're tired,'" Singletary said. "'Why don't we think about cutting it now and coming back out here this afternoon and going from there.' "They said, ‘No, we're gonna finish it.' I don't want us to come out and just drag through it. That tempo and everything else, that's not who we are."

Singletary also said: "I've been anticipating this day. It's hump day, and you've got to work your way through that wall. We did not do a very good job handling it today. The guys were tried. Looking back on it, it's one of those things that's more of a blessing than a curse because our guys see it. They see the amount of work we have to do. When I talk about mental toughness, on days like today, the great teams work their way through them."

VANN'S NOT THE MAN: The 49ers waived undrafted rookie LeRoy Vann on Monday, which could mean an opportunity for another first-year player, Kevin Williams, to establish himself as the team's punt return specialist.

Vann set an NCAA record with 11 combined career touchdown returns at Florida A&M but probably wasn't going to get an opportunity with the 49ers in the preseason. The team has Ted Ginn and Williams, although Williams said he wouldn't assume his chances to make the team had improved.

"I'm not going to buy into any of that," he said. "All I can do is the best job I can and work every day to get better."


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