San Francisco Coach Bill Walsh said today his team is at a real disadvantage in its preparations for Super Bowl XVI by being forced to practice in the mornings.

"This should make us more incensed," Walsh claimed about the morning workouts, which begin around 9 a.m. That's the same, however, as 6 a.m. West Coast time, which is why Walsh is upset.

"How would you like to fly cross country, then go out and practice at 6 a.m. every day? It isn't natural. But this team has been fighting against the odds all year anyway. We sort of like it."

The 49ers lost a coin flip to the Bengals, who chose an afternoon practice time. Both teams are using the Silverdome, which also is the site of Sunday's game.

However, some 49er players said that they rather enjoyed the early morning workouts. "To me, it's better to get them out of the way right away instead of having to look forward to the dread of practicing," guard Randy Cross said. "Bill's practices aren't easy. They are very demanding and they require a lot of concentration. There is a lot of repetition. This way, we can spend the afternoon relaxing and doing our studying. I think a lot of the guys feel the same way."

Both teams got a taste of the Super Bowl media blitz when they went through an hour of pictures and interviews at the Silverdome. About 400 newsmen were present . . . Walsh's practice lasted about 20 minutes longer than the NFL had allotted. "It's impossible to get everything done in their time frame," he said. "We had to go longer" . . . Cross, an all-pro guard this year, hurt his back in practice Monday and did not work out today. "A back tried to create a hole but he ran up my back instead," Cross said. "I'll be okay to practice Wednesday."