The Niners host the San Diego Chargers at the $1.2 billion stadium on Sunday at 1 p.m., and the team has said it expects to have the field ready in time. A KTVU (Ch. 2) news chopper showed images of the sod replacement in some areas of the turf Thursday.
“The 49ers organization would like to apologize to any fans who were inconvenienced by today’s practice ending early,” the team said Wednesday. “We have determined the appropriate measures necessary to have the field ready for Sunday and look forward to hosting the San Diego Chargers.”
Coach Jim Harbaugh moved his team out of the stadium Wednesday about an hour into the practice.
“It’s a beautiful field for a first-year field,” veteran kicker Phil Dawson said this week. “Those guys are working their brains out to get that thing ready.”
Dawson missed wide right on first-half field goal attempts from 55 and 44 yards in Sunday’s 34-0 loss to the Denver Broncos. He said there are always adjustments with new grass. The field looked dry in places and chunks of sod could be seen missing in places where it apparently didn’t root properly.
“We’re all kind of in foreign territory here and learning as we go,” Dawson said. “There were a lot of new experiences, not just wind but the footing on the field. It’s the first time the big boys have been out there and trudging around and seeing how the field held up. There’s a whole lot going on all at once. ... If your technique requires a six-inch step and your six-inch step goes in a divot or something like that, it can affect things. That’s not unique to fields we play on. I have pretty good experience playing on fields that are less than ideal, so I’ll just have to draw on those experiences.”
The Niners’ regular-season home opener is a Sept. 14 prime-time matchup against Chicago. The 49ers are scoreless in their last seven quarters and have been outscored 57-3 this preseason. They lost 23-3 at Baltimore on Aug. 7.
West Coast Turf has provided the 49ers’ sod at both Candlestick Park and Levi’s Stadium. It is not unheard of around the league for teams to re-sod fields midweek or in short order, for example between a college bowl game and NFL game.