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Ask A Player, CB Walt Harris

Thanks for sending in your questions for starting cornerback Walt Harris. We picked a variety of questions for Walt to answer and we hope you enjoy reading his responses. If your question wasn't chosen this time around, please participate in the latest Ask a Player feature with running back Frank Gore.

Q: The veteran leadership that we fans hoped you would provide is coming through loud and clear from where we sit. I assume that we're seeing you lead by example by challenging yourself to excel and demonstrating good preparation habits. But, I was wondering if there's something specific, other than being a good example, that you intentionally impose on the younger guys on the squad. I guess what I'm asking is, are there times in your role as a veteran-leader that you "put on your coach's hat" and break things down, chapter & verse, to a teammate in need of some mentoring? – Mike
A: Thank you first of all. I definitely try to lead by example, but there are things that I know and things that I see out on the field and on the sidelines that I try to tell guys about. Certain things they may not be aware of, and I want to try to help them take their game to another level. A lot of things I've learned throughout my career, I try to definitely reiterate or pass along to my teammates.



Q: You've been a member of several defenses. What is the future for the current Niners defense, from your perspective? Is it on the right track, or headed toward fallout?**
Ben in Anchorage, Alaska
A: We are on the right track. We still have a lot of work to do. We are trying to develop chemistry and continuity with everyone, and trying to develop some consistency and that's one thing we don't have right now, consistency.

Q: I'm the starting strong side corner for the freshman team at my high school and was wondering if you could give me some advice on how to play good man-to-man and zone coverage?– Jacob Torres
A: First of all, you have to have the right attitude and a playmaker's mentality that when the ball is in the air, it's going to be your ball. As far as techniques at your stage, I would say focus on your man, do a lot of footwork drills to help you become quicker and more acclimated with moving your feet quickly.

Q; How did it feel catching those three interceptions vs the Raiders? – Sam Saxena
A: It felt good. What went through my mind was feeling like I was in a zone, expecting the ball coming my way and expecting to make those plays.

Q: In the St. Louis game I heard you were playing like a beast. In the Oakland game you had 3 picks, and in the program I read you wanted a 3 interception game, so congrats! How did it feel to accomplish that? Also, what do you think of the rest of your defensive backs? - Elijah
A: Getting the three picks was a wish come true real early. I didn't expect it to come that early in the season but it did and I feel real good about it. We've got very skilled, very talented guys in the backfield. The key in this secondary and in any secondary, guys have to know each other and how each guy play. So, our communication and our awareness of each other are things we need to work on. Understanding the game and what teams are trying to do to you are very important and is something we definitely need to work on. We are moving in the right direction. It might not look at it right now, but we are definitely on the right track.

Q: How do you feel before a game and what is your reaction when you win/lose? Also, what's your favorite stadium to play in? - Simon
A: Before the game, I'm always relaxed and calm but the closer I get to the game, I may get a little nervous. I just try to visualize making every play possible and trying to be all over the field.

I love winning. I actually hate losing more than I like winning. That's one thing that motivates me to play at a high level out on the field. I don't sleep well after a loss. I don't like to watch any sports whatsoever. When we win, I'm all over Sports Center but when we lose, I don't like to watch any football whether I played well or not. It sticks with me until my off-day on Tuesday and when I start getting ready for the next opponent.

I like to play in Seattle. I like to play in San Francisco actually. I really like playing there and I always like playing in Baltimore at their stadium.

Q: What is the first thing you do out on the field before the snap of the football? What do you look at first(quarterback, wide receiver, tight end,etc.)and how much yards do you line up from the wide receiver? Freddy
A: First thing I look at is the total formation and what they are in. I study that early on in the week to see what things they do well out of certain formations and any thing I can key in on to help me out on Sunday. So formation is what I'll look at first to see once they line up. The coverage depends on how deep I line up. If it's Cover 2, I may line up at 4 or 5 yards but it's all different. I don't like to give away my coverage by my alignment so I try to vary that.

Q: We all know you are an 11 year veteran, which is why my question is this. How do you feel on the field? Do you feel as good as you did when you were a rookie, or do you feel better? - Rendle 3000
A: Actually when I'm on the field, I feel better than I've felt in 4 or 5 years. I credit that to my off-season training, something I took to a different level the last couple of years. I definitely feel a lot better out on the field. After the game, I may feel bad because I'm definitely not as young as I used to be but out on the field, I feel very good.

Q: I would like to know what (if anything) has changed about your game since coming to San Francisco. It seem like you have discovered a new technique or something. You are all over some of the best receivers in the league. If there is a key to your progress I would really like to know. – Art, Fairfield, CA
A: It's no new technique. I just think it's my awareness of the game an understanding what is happening and what the offense is trying to do to me and our defense. I think it's playing with a high level of confidence and the right attitude.

Q: When you blitz the QB, who covers your assigned WR? If an offense has a two (2) receiver set, does it make sense to occasionally blitz both cornerbacks? Laurence Verga
A: In terms of what makes sense, it really just depends on whatever the coaches call. If the coaches call a two-corner blitz, then that's what you do. You really can't say who covers my guy once I'm blitzing because it all depends on what the coverage is. Mainly, it's always another defensive back who is covering my guy rather than a linebacker because of mismatch.

Q: When you are watching a game and the show the coaches on the headphones. My question what are the coaches talking about while wearing the headphones? - John R.
A: It all depends on if it's offense or defense, but the coaches are talking with other coaches upstairs. Anything from what personnel the team is coming out with and what defenses to run based on that personnel and formations and there's just a lot going on. There's talk over what's a good call in terms of down and distance and just strategy for the next play basically.

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