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Locker Room a Highlight of Levi's® Stadium's Debut

Posted Aug 17, 2014

The 49ers didn't perform as well as they would have liked in the preseason home opener, but the players had a lot to like about their new building.

Jim Harbaugh was dissapointed with the results of his offense, defense and special teams on Sunday afternoon.

But he was impressed by Levi's® Stadium in its hosting of the San Francisoco 49ers 34-0 defeat to the Denver Broncos.

"That phase went well," the coach said.

Commenting on the turf and the stadium at large, with its attendance of 68,426 fans, Harbaugh said he was pleased with the building's debut.

For the players themselves, the locker room was a highlight.

As it is now, there are 90 10-foot-tall walnut-wood lockers in the 3,600 square-foot space.

As we entered the room postgame to ask members of the team about their home opener, it became obvious how it's designed: Tight ends, fullbacks, wide receivers and the quarterbacks lined the wall to our left, with Colin Kaepernick on the corner, next to Blaine Gabbert. On the next corner of the far wall was left tackle Joe Staley and, to his right, his fellow offensive linemen. Naturally, the defensive linemen are on the exact opposite side of the room. 

On the right wall is situated the specialists, the linebackers, the safeties and the cornerbacks.

In the middle? Rookies and roster hopefuls.

"This is a lot different than Northern Illinois," rookie defensive back Jimmie Ward, the team's first-round draft pick, told one reporter while standing before his stall.

"I could tell from the look in everybody's eyes that we were pumped up, ready to go," Ward said later. "First game, home team, it was just a great experience. From my college and where I came from, we didn't have this many fans."

Another first-year player, linebacker Chris Borland, was wowed, too.

"We've been in here a few times," he said, "but today was special. To run out into a full stadium was pretty exciting."

Ward, Borland and other members of the defense were less thrilled with their results on the field. Say the same for backup quarterback Blaine Gabbert and the offense.

"It's a great environment. They did a wonderful job (of building it)," Gabbert said. "But we'd like to put our positive footprint on it with a win."

Here's what some other players thought of the new digs:

Kaepernick: “It was a great atmosphere. I think we will have a lot more noise here than at Candlestick from what it sounded like today.”

Peyton Manning: “It was nice, nicer than nice. I had heard a lot about it and of course it was a great day for football. Yeah, beautiful setting and great sightlines for the quarterback on the field. I was very impressed.”

Frank Gore: "It’s nice. The locker room is nice. I’m use to the old school at Candlestick (Park), but it’s nice. Hopefully we can bring a trophy here... (The turf) felt fast. It felt great out there. It felt great to me, but you know I’ve got great feet."

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