Who better to provide a veteran perspective on training camp than Pro Bowl cornerback Walt Harris? After all, he's been through more than a dozen of them, and at different spots too after having played with the Bears, the Colts, the Redskins and now the 49ers. Check out his second diary entry below...
Going back to the scrimmage on Saturday, we did some good things on both sides of the ball. It was a chance for a lot of the young guys to be able to go in and get some exposure and see how they perform under pressure and as a unit. Overall, we had some good and bad, and that's what practice is all about. It's a chance for guys to put the game plan together and get out there and figure out how things look when you are playing an actual series. For the most part, I thought things looked okay for a first scrimmage.
I really enjoyed the Pasta Bowl. It was really fun to be able to serve the people who are behind us and who are helping us and the organization by their support. It was for a good cause, and raised a large dollar amount for two local charities. The event is actually something I'm thinking about doing myself next year for my foundation because it was unique and it was fun. I'm always trying to pick up things that I could implement on my end, and so that shows how much I enjoyed the evening!
Most of us don't have much experience as servers, but they did a great job of explaining what we were to do, and we had real servers helping us so it was a smooth transition in terms of getting the food on the table. A lot of the people we sat with were very excited about having us there, and they made us feel good about what we're doing as a team. Hopefully we made them feel the same with our service!
I went back home since we had Sunday off during the day because the house is totally out of order. It's a mess. I just thought I'd go over and try to straighten things out but I was too tired. I just ended up watching television and then got on the internet and surfed the web a little bit. As far as television goes, I love Martin. I have him on some of my recordings and I sat back and watched him for a few series and had a good laugh. Then I ran some errands and by that time, it was back to work again. It flies so fast.
Aubrayo Franklin means a whole lot to this defense and I was watching him that same day he got hurt and I was telling one of the guys how well he does stuffing the run and just how stout he is up in there and then maybe ten minutes later he goes down, so I was like ah, no. My eyes were over there watching the whole time hoping it wasn't too serious. I went up to our trainer Jeff Ferguson to ask what the status was and we did get good news and he'll be back in September. We need him in there. For a guy like that to go down, everyone kind of holds their breath because we need him on this defense and he's definitely going to help us out a whole lot.
Coach Nolan has different guest speakers come through and speak to us throughout camp and last night Rocky Blier came in. He was a running back for the Steelers during their four Super Bowl wins and was very inspirational to hear from. On top of serving our country and suffering a leg injury, he really overcame many things in his career. I really enjoyed that talk from him and got a lot out of it. One of the things was about perception. In peoples' minds he wasn't the biggest guy, the tallest guy or the fastest guy but he had the courage and the mindset to change that perception by just keeping at it. Throughout his life there were also a lot of instrumental people who at key points in his career and life who really motivated and helped allow him to also continue on and do the things he did. I think a lot of guys really took a great deal from hearing him speak.
Now that we are in the second week of camp, our bodies are getting fatigued somewhat and it does get old. We're struggling a little this week but it's a great time for us to get better so we just know that and keep pushing through.
I know many fans have come through camp already and see us out on the field, but another large part of our day occurs in the meeting rooms.
We start off with practice first thing in the morning, have some time to eat and then we usually have special teams meetings around 2:45 and that lasts about 30 minutes and then we break out into offense and defense for about 45 minutes before the second practice. We are just watching film, going over some mistakes and things we could have done better, things we did do well and making some adjustments on certain plays that maybe didn't work as well as we'd like against a certain formation. We're just always trying to figure out what's best and what's not.
In the defensive backs meetings, it's very laid back. Guys joke here and there and our coaches joke, so the environment is great to be around. You can ask questions when you want to which is also great because I have been in different organizations where this is what the coach says and you just do it, and it's very tight. We have a lot of say-so and input because our coaches understand we are the ones out there playing the game and responsible for getting it done, so they want to hear about how we feel about things too. That's something we respect a lot as players.
We've got snacks – seeds all day long and then some, pretzels, and sometimes I bring in peanuts. We tend to get the munchies here and there and it's laid back and fun. It's not a boring meeting by any means in our room.
I'm looking forward to the Broncos game. It's time to start hitting somebody else, and get out on the field and put together all the hard work we've put in this off-season and this training camp and see what it looks like. Every organization has a different mindset, obviously everyone wants to win, but preseason is more about evaluation and just getting ready for the regular season. I don't know what the mindset is for Denver, but our mindset is that we want to win. You have to get into the routine of winning, so we want to win of course, but we also really need to use it as time to work out any and all kinks.
We have the evening off tonight from meetings. I might get a massage, run a few errands, but I also might just sit in the room and watch a show. I'm so laid back! Those six hours of off time are going to fly by so fast, so it seems like you don't end up getting that much done anyhow. We'll see.