49ers treat New Orleans as if it's Youngstown

49ers arrive in New Orleans

49ers treat New Orleans as if it's Youngstown
January 27, 2013, 8:45 pm
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Vernon Davis (left) and Delanie Walker (right) return to their New Orleans hotel on Sunday after dinner. (USA TODAY IMAGES)

NEW ORLEANS -- There is no French Quarter in Youngstown, Ohio.

And there certainly are no places in Youngstown to get an adult beverage or hot beignets at 3 a.m.

But the 49ers' week-long stay at the site of Super Bowl XLVII is bringing back memories of the road trips the club has taken the past two years during the regular season.

Yes, there will be a lot more media and hype surrounding the 49ers' game Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens, but it is also a time for the team to focus on football -- just as they've done in Youngstown on week-long trips.

"It's a good thing," 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said. "We've done this really the last two years, stayed in a hotel, had our meetings in a hotel and go to a facility and practice and get ready for a game.

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"But it's the same approach as always, really. Enjoy the moment, enjoy preparations. I think that's what our team enjoys the most is the practice, meetings and, especially, the competition."

In 2011, the 49ers played at Cincinnati and had a game the following week in Philadelphia. Harbaugh decided to keep the team in the Youngstown area to avoid back-to-back flights to the east.

On the back end of that trip, the 49ers rallied from a 20-point third-quarter deficit to pull off a 24-23 victory over the Eagles to springboard the 49ers to a 13-3 regular-season record.

The 49ers had similar success this season, as they followed up a loss at Minnesota with a week in Youngstown to prepare to face the New York Jets. The 49ers installed a game plan in which Colin Kaepernick saw his first action at quarterback, and the 49ers rolled to a 34-0 victory over the Jets.

"We'll be out here for a week, so we have to approach it that way," safety Dashon Goldson said. "We'll get accustomed to a new enviroment and practice in a different facility. We'll have to adapt to it. We've been in that situation before."

The 49ers will begin practice later this week at the practice facility of the New Orleans Saints in Metairie, La.

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Defensive tackle Justin Smith said he does not mind the time away, as the focus is typically on nothing but football.

"Once you get done with today tomorrow, the media day stuff, I think it'll be a regular work week," Smith said. "It's what we'd do normally on the road. We've already done it once with Youngstown. I don't think it'll be that much difference."

The 49ers, who arrived at their team hotel on Sunday evening, have film rooms set up at their hotel. Players can get to the film room early in the morning or late at night without any kind of commute involved.

The goal for Harbaugh and the 49ers is to keep the week as normal as possible. And that's why the experience of Youngstown can be beneficial.

"We'll still have the same body of work that we'd have if we were back home, the same kind of work we had in Youngstown," linebacker Patrick Willis said. "The only difference got to do a whole lot of media.

"And this is not Youngstown."

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