FS Michael Huff (24) and CB Nnamdi Asomugha mug for the camera a little bit. Photo by Tony Gonzales.
Nnamdi Asomugha: I think the practices are sharper this time around than it was last year. It's still the same format of the mental practices for about four days and then we get into the physical, which I love, because it keeps us from getting injured and those sorts of things. It keeps us mentally prepared, but we're much sharper this year at this time than we were last year and I think its helping.
Q: The defense looks for real out there. I know it's very early, but what's going to make it different this year compared to last year?
Nnamdi Asomugha: Just us playing with more confidence. We're still going to be the type of team that we are, we won't change our identity as guys that can take people…individuals out of the game. But the thing that is going to get us over the hump this year is that we're going to have a lot more confidence. Guys that have been playing now and consistent for 3 or 4 years, guys are really going to step that up.
Q: Back to your rookie season, is it possible to give a rookie too many responsibilities in that first year, because Rolando McCalin is going to take on a lot this year?
Nnamdi Asomugha: I didn't have his type of situation. His situation is coming right in as a starter and a starter that has to be mentally prepared because he is the middle linebacker, so he's got a lot to take on, but they wouldn't give it to him if they didn't think he could handle it. I know that a rookie, depending on which rookie it is, if they feel like you can handle the information, that's a big credit to be one of those guys.
Q: Sounds like he catches on quickly, I heard that he loves to study film. As far as where you're at right now, I know you can help him with anything, but is he grasping that defense quickly?
Nnamdi Asomugha: He's getting it. We haven't thrown too much at him early on. I think the thing is to just keeping him mentally sharp in the things that we are doing. So we'll tone it down so that our base stuff and the things that we'll do the most he gets down and I think as camp continues on we'll throw more at him.
Q: Darrius Heyward-Bey must feel like it's a blessing that he can work with someone like you, a Pro Bowler, that could help him get over the hump. What have you taught him because he looks like a completely different player out there?
Nnamdi Asomugha: Well that's all him. That's him and his confidence and growing. All I'm doing is, after practice, just working on the things that he needs help with, allowing him to see different looks from me. I figure if he could do that with me every day after practice, he could help us out a lot. It'll raise his confidence even more, I think, in games and he feels the same way so I'll just continue to do that as much as he wants to.
Q: How excited are you about the upcoming season?
Nnamdi Asomugha: I'm thrilled. Everyone here is thrilled. The thing about it is every time you come to camp there's like a lull and you think, 'when are we going to be over with camp?' But it was exciting today, it's been exciting since we've been out here practicing. You guys have been watching. There has been a lot of talking going on, a lot of fun stuff, so it gets exciting. I'm excited for it.
Q: Nnamdi, you talked a little bit about Tyvon Branch. People around the league, I think, are really on the verge of getting to know who Tyvon is.
Nnamdi Asomugha: Yeah, Tyvon was good when he came in as a rookie and then he got hurt. We played against Kansas City and he had a great game then. He was a guy that could have started for us, as a rookie, but didn't have to but then came on really strong last year with the plays that he did when he's guarding tight ends and coming up in the run. I don't know what else to really say about him, he's just much better than you would even notice. You don't think about him immediately when you think about our secondary, but he's just as good as anyone else. He's a big time player. We expect a lot out of him and he expects a lot out of himself so that's going to help out.
Q: What are your personal goals this season?
Nnamdi Asomugha: I always try to raise my game to another level so in any way that I could do that…that's been my goal every single year, it's never stay the same, always be better in one area, or multiple.