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Whitner's Blog: Facing Old Friends

Posted Oct 5, 2012

Donte Whitner emerged as a leader of the 49ers secondary in 2011 during his first season in San Francisco. A man who takes pride in his mental side of the game, Whitner has also established himself as one of the league’s hardest-hitting safeties throughout his career. The veteran recently spoke with 49ers.com before facing his former team, the Buffalo Bills on Sunday at Candlestick Park.

The best part about being able to stay in Ohio for a week was being able to see my family and my children. Just hanging out at my place, for me, was the best part. As far as building team camaraderie, that’s one of the reasons why we were up there. Being in Youngstown after our first loss, our first taste of adversity, it was good. It allowed us to think about where we were as a team, what mistakes we made and how we could go out there and improve and that’s what we did against the New York Jets.

We’re all proud that we haven’t lost back-to-back games under Jim Harbaugh. It’s like life, you take pride in being able to bounce back from adverse situations and adverse things that happen to you. It’s like that in the National Football League, you lose games and you want to bounce back. You don’t walk around holding your head down or feeling sorry for yourself. You go in there and watch the film and you look at yourself in the mirror and you figure out ways to improve and that’s what we did.

One of my favorite spots to eat in Ohio is at Chick Fil-A. I think I went to Chick Fil-A almost every day. I actually didn’t get to go to any other restaurants around my house because my mom likes to cook for me when I come home, but it’s even better than going out. She made a big pan of lasagna for me – it’s my favorite – and she also made a lot of spaghetti and pasta, too.

There’s no excuses, but we were pretty much sleepwalking through the Minnesota game because we weren’t adjusted to the time difference. But after spending time in Ohio for a week, getting adjusted to the time zone, waking up super early and practicing before getting a full night’s sleep was huge for us. That’s why we went out in New York and it felt like a normal game. We weren’t sleepwalking, we weren’t tired and we came out there and handled our business.

That’s what we’re going to need again this week. We need to get adjusted to the West Coast time and prepare for a hungry Bills team that’s coming in. We’re going to have to be ready because they’re going to come out and have energy. They understand how important this game is because they want to use it as a measuring stick, but we have to go out there and jump on them fast and be ready.

Instagram Photo of the Week

Thanks to all the 49ers Faithful for helping me reach 10,000 followers and congratulations to the lucky fan who received two tickets to Sunday’s game. I look forward to hearing a loud crowd at Candlestick Park against the Bills.

#AskDonteWhitner Q&A

Q: What is it going to be like facing your former team this weekend? Any emotions? –  Sheraz Sharif
A: The human nature part of it is going to be emotional. Seeing that color and wearing that color for five years, playing with those guys and being in the locker room, understanding who they are personally and as an athlete, there’s going to be emotions. The biggest thing is to be able to keep those emotions in check and being able to execute and think out there on the football and field and not let the emotions run too wild.

Q: Any hard feelings towards the Bills?
– Oscar Herrera
A: There’s no hard feelings towards the Bills. I appreciate that they drafted me No. 8 overall and allowed me to play for five years. I made a lot of friends over there and a lot of them are still on the team, so there’s no hard feelings towards them.

Q: Who do you look forward to greeting on the field? – @jdj494life

A: The person I look forward to greeting with a handshake is George Catavolos, who was my secondary coach for five years over there. I’ve had a lot of personal and private conversations with him, so I really look forward to seeing him.

Q: What does it feel like when you de-cleat a player from a BIG HIT? – Utah Niner Empire
A: Like crumbling up a paper bag with my hands.

Q: What is Coach Donatell feeding you guys? Iron? Lol! You two Safeties are absolutely brutal at putting a lick in! – Dennis Sabagquit
A: He’s not really feeding us anything. It’s more that he’s really explaining what our roles are on this football team. Especially with me and Dashon (Goldson), our roles are to make plays on the ball and on people, as far as being physical, hitting people, separating them from the football and putting that on film to let offenses know that it’s going to be a long day, you’re going to get hit. Coach Donatell is really doing a good job of preparing us and showing us throughout the week what we’re going to see in the football game. We hardly go out there on the field and see things that we haven’t seen throughout the week. That’s because of his thorough preparation, Vic Fangio’s thorough preparation and guys understanding it and translating it to the football field.

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