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Notebook: 49ers Enjoy Kezar Experience, Eager for Practice with Houston Texans

SAN FRANCISCO – There's a lot going in the San Francisco 49ers football universe these days.

With training camp in full swing, Wednesday's ninth day of on-field work saw the franchise return to its original home, Kezar Stadium. The nostalgia-filled day of work was in preparation of Friday's joint practice with the Houston Texans, which will be followed by the teams' preseason opener on Sunday at **[Levi's® Stadium.

](**The Kezar visit was well received by the players and head coach Chip Kelly.

"It obviously gives you a lot of energy and a lot of juice," the coach said prior to the two-hour practice. "I think we've got a unique situation just because we're kind of landlocked in terms of our practice facility. So a chance to get out here in front of the fans is awesome for our players and our coaching staff."

NaVorro Bowman admited he wasn't fully aware of the team's storied tradition at Kezar. Still, the star linebacker couldn't deny the energy coming from the stands.

"It was great to get on this field," the veteran defender said. "Now I can say I've practiced and played at Kezar"

Bowman and his teammates now joins the likes of "The Million Dollar Backfield," Y.A. Tittle, R.C. "Alley Oop" Owens and all the greats that competed in downtown San Francisco from 1946 to 1970.

The historical aspects were not lost on a football enthusiast like Kelly.

"I just think it's cool," the coach said. "The tradition at this franchise is unbelievable. The fact that they've won five Super Bowls, they've got six NFC championships, they've won 20 or so divisions and this is the roots of it, it started here."

Wednesday's practice mirrored the previous sessions at the SAP Performance Facility. The Kelly-coached 49ers utilized the same camp structure, complete with competitive drills and up-beat 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 periods. The Kezar day also helped the team get a change of pace in camp as the group prepares to play the Texans.

Kelly was noncommittal on naming a starting quarterback for his preseason debut as San Francisco's head coach.

Kelly, instead, emphasized the importance of the next few days.

"We'll wait until after Houston's practice to evaluate everybody at every position because you don't know where you're going to be until you get there," the coach said.

The 49ers will wait to evaluate playing time until Saturday when they know the health status of each player on the 90-man roster.

"It's always good to go against another team," Bowman said. "We try to protect our teammates here in practice. When the Texans come in, it'll be a little more amped up, a little more game-like. But keep in mind, we do play them on Sunday."

Niner Notes– Tackle Anthony Davis continues to be the most talked about second-string player of 49ers camp. Kelly remarked that Davis' demeanor has been all about football. "He's been fantastic so far," the coach said. "So we'll continue to grow with him, but I'm really impressed with him so far."

– Davis, in turn, said he had no issue having to work his way up the depth chart. Davis has moved up from the third to second-team offense. "It's an experience, I don't mind it," he said. So what has the offensive lineman most encouraged at this point of camp? It's his resolve. "It's hard work," Davis said. "It's hard work to get back to playing better than when I left. It takes a lot of attention to detail." 

– Looking for an early camp standout on defense? How about second-year defensive tackle Arik Armstead. You'll probably want to read what five-time Pro Bowl offensive tackle Joe Staley said about last year's first-round pick. "He's amazing," Staley began. "He's having a really great camp. He's the first guy that jumps out to me as far as a guy on our defense who is having a terrific camp this year. Just the speed, his tempo, the way he's practicing, his urgency has been a lot better. He's real physical, and he's getting after every body. Now it's the technical things because has all the physical tools."

– Bowman didn't want to take sides in the ongoing three-man race to join him as a starting inside 'backer. Bowman applauded the performances of Michael Wilhoite, Gerald Hodges and Ray-Ray Armstrong. All three continue to alternate practices with the first defense. "It's still wide open," Bowman said. "Whoever the best man is, they'll be prepared. They've definitely put the work in, so I'm looking forward to (playing with them)." Bowman suggested that the linebacker starting in the third preseason game (at home against the Green Bay Packers) will be in the best position to start Week 1 of the regular season.

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