A very noisy debut awaits 49ers rookies

Rookies Anthony Davis and Mike Iupati have gotten plenty of practice reps in training camp. Now they're about to play their first NFL games in one of the noisiest stadiums in the league. Are they ready?

SANTA CLARA, Calif. – It's safe to say that rookies Anthony Davis and Mike Iupati took more practice reps and preseason-game snaps than virtually any other player on the San Francisco 49ers roster.

Even so, it's a fair question: With the NFL regular-season opener just six days away, are Davis and Iupati ready?

"They better be," 49ers coach Mike Singletary said Monday. "Now is not the time to ask if they're ready. It's on now."

Ready or not, Davis will be the starting right tackle and Iupati the starting left guard Sunday when the 49ers meet the Seattle Seahawks at notoriously noisy Qwest Field. In the NFL, there's loud and then there's Qwest.

"I'm just going to go with the flow," Iupati said. "I trust my center, and I trust myself too."

Veteran players know how difficult the crowd noise can be in the Northwest. Then there's this statistic: Since 2005, the Seahawks have caused an NFL-high 95 false-start penalties in their home games.

If Davis and Iupati are up to the task, they'll find out soon enough. Certainly, both have grown in the system since they were drafted in the first round last April. And while Iupati has been more impressive with his ability to get to the second level and mow down linebackers, Davis, who is just 20, has been a steady work in progress.

"When I came into training camp, I was 20," Davis said. "Now I'm about 25. Being around a lot of older guys, you see yourself maturing every day."

Admittedly, Davis knew what to expect when the 49ers made him their first pick in the first round. "Something about coach Singletary told me to be ready to work," he said, "so I was pretty ready for whatever he was throwing at me."

Davis, who played two years at Rutgers, said the loudest stadium he can recall playing in was the Carrier Dome at Syracuse.

"You can only see mouths move, and that's it," he said. "Once you've experienced loud, it's loud. If you can't hear the guy next to you talking, that's as loud as it gets."

As a rookie, Iupati said he's already experienced opposing players coming at him hard, and he expects more of the same during the season.

"They're coming hard, and hopefully they're not going to use me as a rookie," he said. "I'll still make a lot of mental errors and technical errors, so they'll try to take advantage of it. But I'm just going to go there and play my game."

The same goes for Davis, who will have a sharper learning curve now that the season is about to begin.

"He'll make some mistakes," tight end Vernon Davis said. "He'll just have to get his game up there to where the veterans are."

If not, he and Iupati will hear about it – from Seahawks fans.


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