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49ers stay in Valley between games

Correspondent photo / Robert Hayes Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo warms up for the San Francisco 49ers Wednesday at Youngstown State University. The 49ers, who played at Tampa Bay on Sunday, are staying in the Eastern time zone as they prepare for their game at Cincinnati this weekend.

YOUNGSTOWN — After coming off of a 31-17 victory against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 1 of the NFL season, the San Francisco 49ers have made a pitstop in the Mahoning Valley this week ahead of their matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday.

Farmers National Bank Field saw a bit of a transformation this week, as goalposts, hash marks and numbers were added to the soccer facility to accommodate the 49ers.

“It’s been good, the Holiday Inn (in Boardman) has been nice to us,” coach Kyle Shanahan said after Wednesday’s practice. “Today was the first day I’ve been outside since we landed Sunday, so I haven’t seen much of Youngstown. The Holiday Inn has been great, they’ve treated us real well, the setup has been good, and coming here today practicing was great.”

This isn’t the first time the 49ers have stayed in the Mahoning Valley. They have made stops in Youngstown in the past when they’ve had games in the Eastern time zone on consecutive weeks. Staying in Youngstown means the team doesn’t have to make the long flight home in between games.

The 49ers have had connections to the Mahoning Valley dating back to when Eddie DeBartolo Jr. bought the team in 1977. They’re now currently owned by Denise DaBartolo York and John York.

Correspondent photo / Robert Hayes Wide receiver Kendrick Bourne catches a pass during a drill at YSU.

Shanahan believes that being able to stay on the East Coast is a big plus for his team.

“I think it’s huge. I mean, I’ve learned that the hard way over these last couple years, not just the time change, which is very tough going back and forth, especially when you have an early game, but also just the flying.

“How long it is and when you play the long game, how much you can swell up on the plane after and having to come back, so I think it’s a huge advantage.”

Stambaugh Stadium wasn’t used for practice due to scheduling conflicts with other teams at YSU.

“Everything is perfect, you know, we just need a football field and even though we were out on a soccer field, but it was lined with football lines so that makes it a football field, and it was great,” Shanahan said “Great turf out there, which was nice, and the players are in there lifting right now. I haven’t been in the weight room, obviously, but I hear it’s good, so I know our guys are happy.”

Correspondent photo / Robert Hayes Richard Sherman stretches before practice.

Shanahan spent one season as the offensive coordinator for the Cleveland Browns in 2014, but this was his first trip to the Mahoning Valley.

He does however have a connection to Youngstown State coach Bo Pelini. Shanahan was a ball boy while his father, Mike Shanahan, served as the 49ers’ offensive coordinator from 1992-1994. Pelini was an assistant coach in San Francisco from 1994-1996.

“I know him from that time.” Shanahan said “I know all the coaches names because I had to pass their laundry out, and they always had their names on their baggie. I remember all those guys and all the players from those years.

“(Pelini) is a good guy, but I haven’t seen him for a long time.”

On Tuesday, members of the 49ers took a drive to Williamson Elementary on the city’s South Side. Other players visited a children’s hospital.

The team will practice again at YSU today, then one more time on Friday morning before flying down to Cincinnati.


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