SANTA CLARA (CBS SF) – It was out with the new Friday at Levi’s Stadium as crews worked quickly to replace part of the playing surface just two games into the new stadium’s career.
Operators turned off the live streaming cameras of the stadium for the first time in over two years as crews worked to replace a strip of sod in the middle of the gridiron following complaints from players that it was slippery.
10,000 fans who came out to watch the team’s last open practice went home disappointed Wednesday when Coach Jim Harbaugh pulled the players after team members began falling.
“I noticed a couple times myself when a receiver would make a cut and there would be a big chunk of sod that would just come up from their feet,” said Eric Evers, who watched the practice Wednesday. “We also noticed that Stevie Johnson fell near the end zone and he kind of came up limping, and I think that really concerned the coaching staff.”
Back in April, the team said it chose a special strain of Bermuda grass because it was drought resistant and tough. Apparently it didn’t stick.
Crews began clearing the loose sod Thursday. Early Friday morning they were working to lay down thick-cut temporary sod. The 49ers say the field should be ready for Sunday’s third preseason game, against the San Diego Chargers.