The 6-foot-5, 331-pound guard out of Idaho is in his third season with the 49ers. He will be playing in his second consecutive NFC Championship Game when the 49ers take on the Falcons on Sunday.
The 49ers got to the championship game with a dominating offensive performance against the Packers in the divisional-playoff round.
Heres what the San Francisco Chronicle had to say about Iupati and the offensive line in a story posted Friday:
San Franciscos diversity worked to eye-popping perfection against the Packers, whether Colin Kaepernick was running the read-option or setting up camp in the pocket. The 49ers piled up 579 yards in total offense, nicely divided between rushing (323 yards) and passing (256). Kaepernick was sacked only once.
Thats an offensive line working in concert.
By all accounts, Iupati the man-child left guard qualifies as the best example of the havoc San Francisco causes up front. Hes the lineman most prone to penalties, but hes also the one most likely to inspire awestruck reaction among his teammates when they watch video.
Just imagine King Kong running over people," backup guard Daniel Kilgore said. Its crazy the way Mike uses his hands and attacks people. He manhandles grown men.
Iupati occasionally wanders away from the huddle, Kilgore said, to chat up the defensive linemen he manhandles. It usually happens after Iupati gets beat on a play; apparently he doesnt take kindly to losing even one duel along the line of scrimmage.
Former 49ers offensive lineman Randy Cross noticed while watching video of the win over Green Bay.
Iupati was born with that edge, that wanting to finish you off, Cross said. You can teach guys to like to do that, but its unusual for a guy to do it as second nature. There were a half-dozen times against the Packers where he did exactly that. Guys got a little out of position and off balance and he just buried them.
Koetter grew up in Pocatello, where he played quarterback at Highland High and Idaho State.
The former Boise State head coach went to the NFL in 2007, when he joined the Jaguars coaching staff. This past offseason, he accepted the offensive coordinator position with the Falcons.
On Sunday, he will be coaching in his first NFC Championship Game. He will be trying to guide the Falcons past the 49ers into the Super Bowl.
The Atlanta Journal Constitution posted a short question-and-answer session with Koetter on Friday. Heres what Koetter said:
Q: How tough is the 49ers defense?
A: When we look at the front, we talk about the front seven. The three down (linemen) and four linebackers. Their front seven is as tough as it gets. They have multiple Pro Bowl players in there, and they are playing well.
Q: Will the no-huddle attack keep the 49ers off balance?
A: We always have a no-huddle plan. Sometimes your huddle stuff is going well so you dont want to get into the no-huddle.
Q: Can the offensive line protect Matt Ryan?
A: Its important every game, but especially with a front like the 49ers have. Our guys did an excellent job last week. We protected well. Matt did a good job of getting the ball out of his hand on time. Obviously, we had receivers winning their matchups. Every quarterback in the league plays better when they are not getting hit. Matt is no exception to that.
Compiled by Chris Langrill