The 49ers’ game plan to bounce back strong on a short week against the top team in the NFC began with large portions of sleep and water.
“Coach talked on it,” 49ers safety Eric Reid said about the recovery needed for a short turnaround to face the Carolina Panthers this weekend.
“Get good sleep going into this game. Get nutrition. Hydrate and just make sure we stay on schedule. He has it planned out so our meetings are going to be the same, so we can get acclimated to the East Coast time. We just have to trust that that he’s going to take care of us, and go out and play ball.”
For the second year in a row, the 49ers played the final game of NFL’s Week 1. Then, the schedule-maker dictates the 49ers travel to the East Coast for a game against a team that played on the opening Thursday of the season.
From the opening of training camp in late-July, the players liked the schedule Chip Kelly instituted for the summer. Practices began a little after 10 a.m., which is the West Coast time of Sunday’s kickoff against the Panthers.
Kelly said science motivates him to design a practice schedule in which his teams are on the field in the morning. He said the body releases its most HGH (human growth hormone) between the hours of 9 and 11 in the morning. It’s unclear to which study Kelly was referencing.
“I practiced in the morning when we were at Oregon,” Kelly said. “I practiced in the morning when we were in Philadelphia and part of that is because of the science aspect of it. The fact that it will matchup with us going to the East Coast is a byproduct of that, not the reason we do that.”
A year ago, the 49ers fell flat on the same scenario. After a victory over the Minnesota Vikings on a late Monday game, the 49ers fell behind 29-3 at halftime en route to a 43-18 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
“We have to bring our own energy,” 49ers linebacker NaVorro Bowman said, “and understand that road games are the games where you lock in the most when you’re preparing throughout the week. All those things come into play. The things we went through last year, we have to try to not let it happen again this year.”
Bowman said he was feeling good physically as Kelly and the 49ers’ strength and conditioning staff put their plan in place.
“Hydration is key,” Bowman said. “I think Chip has done a great job of getting us out of here, getting us home, giving us enough time to get some rest and get back in here and put the work in.”