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Iupati Has Kaepernick’s Back

San Francisco has stressed the need of the line, including All-Pro guard and former Idaho Vandal Mike Iupati, left, to protect young QB Colin Kaepernick, right. Story here. (AP file photo)

Question: Which NFL team is your favorite? Why?

Ex-Vandal Iupati Wows NFL Pros

On a 10-yard, fourth-quarter run by Kendall Hunter in last week’s win over Seattle, Mike Iupati pulled from his left-guard position, sprinted right into the second level and ran over Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner to pave the path for Hunter. On the NFL Network telecast, analyst Mike Mayock raved about Iupati, saying the 6-foot-5, 331-pounder was “a left guard that I think has a chance to become the best guard in football. He’s so big and strong. He’s gifted athletically.” Mayock’s opinion is shared by others/Eric Branch, San Francisco 49ers. More here.

Question: Isn't it nice that someone associated with Idaho Vandals football is successful?

Davis, Iupati Form Bond In Trenches

Throughout a half-hour joint interview late last week, Anthony Davis (right) and Mike Iupati (left) repeatedly finished each other's sentences. Barely two years after they met at a college football awards ceremony, they call themselves brothers. The 49ers picked both of them in the first round of the 2010 draft to clear paths for Frank Gore and protect Alex Smith. They couldn't have predicted how the two offensive linemen would look after one another. “When they got him at (No.) 17, that just made my draft day that much better,” said Davis, whom the 49ers claimed with the 11th pick out of Rutgers/Gwen Knapp, San Francisco Chronicle. More here.

Question: Who is your favorite NFL football player? Why?

49er Iupati Visits Idaho Vandal Practice

The Idaho football team was deep into its final practice before Saturday’s spring game when Robb Akey felt a tap on his shoulder. It was former Vandals star lineman Mike Iupati, now of the San Francisco 49ers, who decided to spring a surprise visit on his old coach and teammates. “I turn around and there’s a mountain standing there,” Akey said after Thursday’s workout. “I jumped up and gave him a hug and I started crying.” Akey put a sudden stop to practice and rounded up his players so that Iupati, who helped guide Idaho to a Humanitarian Bowl triumph in 2009, could give an impromptu address to the team. San Francisco’s first-round pick from a year ago didn’t disappoint/Josh Wright, SR. More here. (In this 2009 Idaho Press Tribune file photo by Greg Kreller, Mike Iupati embraces Coach Robb Akey in closing moments of UI's Humanitarian Bowl win over Bowling Green.)

Question: When did you last return to your alma mater to attend and event or guest lecture to inspire those following in your footsteps?

Iupati Ends 1st Year As No. 5 Guard

Former University of Idaho star Mike Iupati cleans out his locker in Santa Clara, Calif., earlier today after spending his rookie season as a starter for the disappointing San Francisco 49ers. Pro Football Focus ranked Iupati as the 5th best offensive guard in the NFL in 2010 here. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)

Iupati’s Blocking Leads To Touchdown

Against the Cardinals, Westbrook flew mostly between the tackles. Nine of his rushes were up the middle for 61 yards. All but one carry and 1 yard came inside the tackles, where the 49ers want to mash the most. He went up the middle for an 8-yard touchdown run, following pulling left guard Mike Iupati’s lead, to give the 49ers a 21-3 lead in the second quarter. In other words, Westbrook showed the 49ers don’t have to change the game plan just because Gore is out. “I felt good, I felt very young,” Westbrook said. “I was fresh”/David White, S.F. Chronicle. More here.

Question: Who is your favorite Inland Northwest player now playing on a professional sports team?

INW: Iupati ‘Grinding’ Thru Long Year

University of Idaho offensive lineman Spencer Beale signs autographs for students at McDonald Elementary School in Moscow on Thursday. UI football players ate lunch with students at the school, and students wore Vandal clothing to school to celebrate UI&’s game against Boise State today. Christina Lords’ Daily News story here. (Moscow-Pullman Daily News photo: Geoff Crimmins)

Iupati, 49ers Hit Halfway Point

San Francisco 49ers’ Mike Iupati, center, San Francisco 49ers’ Adam Snyder, right, and other players run onto the field before the NFL Football match between the Denver Broncos and San Francisco 49ers at Wembley Stadium in London Sunday. San Francisco, which has stumbled through a disappointing first half, won their second game in eight tries by beating Denver 24-16. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

Ex-Vandal Iupati Gets More Raves

From S.F. Chronicle game story by David White re: 49ers 17-14 win over San Diego Thursday night: “The two first-round picks — right tackle Anthony Davis and left guard Mike Iupati — have much to learn about starting in the NFL. But their accelerated learning path and tremendous upside has the 49ers’ offense in better hands. Iupati has instantly become running back Frank Gore‘s new best friend, able to scooter his wide body to the second level and deliver devastating blocks. Against the Chargers, Iupati cleared space downfield for running back Anthony Dixon to take a pitch left, cut inside and take off for a 46-yard touchdown run in the first quarter.” Story here.

Iupati Gets Rave Reviews In Preseason

Throw all the small-school talk out the door. Niners left guard Mike Iupati is as NFL-ready as any rookie offensive lineman in the league. Just ask Raiders coach Tom Cable, who went out of his way to congratulate Iupati after the 49ers’ 28-24 victory over the Raiders in Saturday night’s exhibition game at the Coliseum. “He’s going to be a good one,” said Cable, a former Idaho offensive lineman, just like Iupati. Pro Bowl running back Frank Gore agrees, citing the monstrous hole Iupati forged on his 49-yard carry up the middle on his first touch of the preseason/David White, San Francisco Chronicle. More here.

Question: Are you going to follow the 49ers this year to watch ex-Vandal Mike Iupati play?

Cross: Iupati Headed For Failure

Randy Cross, who went to multiple Pro Bowls playing for the greatest 49ers teams, thinks rookie first-round guard Mike Iupati is headed for a disappointing career — unless Iupati follows Cross’ advice to stop engaging defenders so aggressively. “Every time I’ve seen this potential annual All-Pro approach a defender, he engulfs defenders with his arms, with his hands, ending up in hugging position,” Cross writes. “Mike, embrace the term ‘within the frame of the defender’s body’ and get those hands on the numbers at the defender’s chest at ALL times”/Mike Sando, ESPN.com. More here. (AP file photo)

Question: What do you expect of rookie 49er lineman Mike Iupati this year?

INW: Iupati ‘Destined For Greatness’

Standout lineman Mike Iupati is shown hugging University of Idaho coach Robb Akey in the final moments of the Vandals victory over Bowling Green in the Humanitarian Bowl last Dec. 30. Now, Iupati is not only a San Francisco 49er lineman. But he also was selected by Bleacher Report as No. 4 of 15 NFL rookies this year who are destined for greatness. Click here.

49ers Blog Evaluates Iupati, Rookies

(Former Idaho Vandal Mike Iupati is) the most difficult rookie to evaluate in the spring because so much of a guard’s job centers on power and overwhelming an opponent at the line of scrimmage. Like Davis, Iupati definitely is quick. And he had no issues as far as his conditioning. Iupati’s biggest task may be pass blocking. The Idaho product was soundly beaten during the Senior Bowl game in January, especially by quick Georgia defensive tackle Geno Adkins. Iupati also seemed to struggle with quickness in one-on one battles in the minicamp. Both Justin Smith and Demetric Evans beat him, which you would expect a cagey veteran to do against a rookie. But Derek Walker also was running by the rookie/Matt Barrows, 49ers Blog. More here. (AP Photo)

Question: Are you expecting big things from former Idaho Vandal Mike Iupati in the 2010 season? Or do you think it’ll be awhile before he makes an impact in the pros?

Ex-Vandal Iupati Works Out w/49ers

San Francisco 49ers 2010 first round draft pick Mike Iupati, formerly of the University of Idaho Vandals, stretches during NFL football practice at 49ers headquarters in Santa Clara, Calif., earlier today. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

Ex-Vandal Iupati Joins 49er Drills

San Francisco 49ers guard (and former University of Idaho Vandal) Mike Iupati (77) stretches during NFL football organized team activities at the 49ers training facility in Santa Clara, Calif., Monday. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)

P.S. Mike Iupati Gets Helmet Adjustment

San Francisco 49ers guard Mike Iupati, a first-round draft pick from Idaho, is helped with his helmet during rookie football mini-camp at 49ers headquarters in Santa Clara, Calif., earlier today. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)

Mike Iupati Meets 49er Press

San Francisco 49ers first-round draft pick Mike Iupati, a guard from Idaho, smiles during an NFL football news conference at 49ers headquarters in Santa Clara, Calif., Friday. See: Draft Day profile here. Bleacher Report: Grading the 49ers 1st-round picks here. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)

Question: Do you plan to follow the 49ers next year, now that Mike Iupati will be playing on the offensive line?

Mike Iupati Returns To California

Former Idaho guard Mike Iupati will be trading in one gold helmet for another this coming season after being drafted by the San Francisco 49ers with the 17th pick in the NFL draft Thursday. Iupati, who was at home in California with his family, said he knew moments before the nationally televised announcement that his name would be next. “Right when I got the call, I was so excited,” said Iupati, who looked the part during ESPN coverage of the draft that showed him awaiting the announcement then hugging his parents and other family members. “It was very emotional.” It marked the end of a long day for Iupati, who said his Mom woke him at 6:30 a.m. to make sure everything was in order for the arrival of the television crews and a house full of company/Moscow-Pullman Daily News. More here. (AP File Photo/Idaho Press-Tribune, charlie Litchfield: Vandal Mike Iupati visits with Jerry Kramer, a former NFL player and All-American at Idaho, before Idaho’s 2009 Humanitarian Bowl win over Bowling Green.)

Sam: UI Sports Disses Vandal Nation

Sam: Tonight, the Vandals saw both a win and a loss. Mike Iupati is an amazing athlete and a mature young adult who deserves the accolades and should be a standard bearer for what it means to be a respectful college athlete that kids can look up to. But also tonight, the Vandal athletics department showed up petty and unprofessional they can be by denying an interview with coach Robb Akey to Vandal Nation, the blog run by Travis Mason-Bushman, a University of Idaho Argonaut reporter who also happens to have nearly 5,000 (you read that right) people following his coverage of all things Vandal Sports at any given time. Full comment here.

Question: Does Robb Akey and the UIdaho sports department owe loyal Vandal Nation an apology for refusing an interview after Mike Iupati was drafted by the 49ers?

NFL Draft: Iupati Could Go No. 8

Only hours from the start of the NFL draft, University of Idaho guard Mike Iupati can rest assured he will be drafted in the first round, but just where he’ll end up is anyone’s guess. Iupati will be watching the draft live on ESPN today at 4:30 p.m. in California and waiting for his name to be called by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell with his family and an ESPN film crew. “I’m just excited. I can’t wait to find out where I’m going, put on the pads and start playing,” Iupati said in a news release issued by the UI. It could be a quick night. The latest rumors have Iupati coming off the board at No. 8 to the Oakland Raiders. ESPN’s Michael Smith tweeted, “The Mike Iupati to Oakland @ #8 talk is picking up steam. Two league sources who know the Raiders well tell me that’s who they’re targeting”/Devin Roykyta, Moscow-Pullman Daily News. More here. (AP Photo/Idaho Press-Tribune, Greg Kreller: Mike Iupati embraces Coach Robb Akey after Idaho defeated Bowling Green in the Humanitarian Bowl Dec. 30.)

Question: Will you be following Vandal guard Mike Iupati and the NFL draft today?