In My Own Words: Inside Fred Warner’s First 49ers Training Camp

View the top images from the 49ers back to school photo shoot as players arrived to training camp.

San Francisco 49ers rookie linebacker Fred Warner has agreed to document his first NFL training camp. Over the course of the next month, Warner will share a first-person account of his experiences. Below is his first blog entry regarding the time leading up to camp, report day and the first two days of practice.

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I knew I wasn’t in Provo, Utah anymore when I saw the price tag on apartment rentals in the Bay Area. That was new. My mom came out and helped me find one that was “reasonably” priced. I ended up picking a spot that was five minutes away from the facility. I spent the last week before camp working out here with guys like Eli Harold, Richard Sherman, Jimmy Garoppolo, Kyle Juszczyk and a few other guys. That time was really important for me so I could get closer with some of the vets. We were all out there working together, and while we weren’t fooling around, we still had fun with it and built those relationships.

That gave me more confidence. It’s nice to know I can lean on those guys. There was one moment when Sherman came up to me in the locker room after one of our workouts. He sat down and asked me point blank: “What do you want to get out of this year?” He picked my brain to see where I was at. He told me that regardless of where I stand on the depth chart on defense, I’ve got to earn my role through special teams. Then when I get my chance, I need to be ready to go on defense. That was pretty cool for him to take an interest in me like that. That’s the kind of guy Sherm is. He sees how badly I want this, and he told me he’s here to help me along the way. I couldn't have asked for a better situation

You could tell everyone was excited when they arrived on report day. All these guys like to have fun and work hard. I had an expectation for when I got into the league that guys, since it is a business, would kind of be more to themselves. I was surprised to see how open this team is. The guys here don’t just talk about it, they are about it. You can see why some of the veterans say this is the best locker room they’ve been around. Everybody is close from what I can tell, and we like to have fun while we work.

Take a look at the top images as the 2018 49ers reported for training camp.

This whole process has been kind of surreal, even through OTAs and minicamp. It’s cliché, but I’m just trying to take it one day at a time. Reporting for training camp was just another day. Coach Shanahan spent time talking about the expectations surrounding the team. Everyone thinks we’re going to do this or that just because of how we finished last season. He wanted to make sure that everyone was on the same page. We haven’t done anything yet. This is a clean slate and we have to work our tails off day in and day out because that’s what all the other teams are doing.

That night I moved into the team hotel. Kentavius Street is my roommate. He’s obviously in a special situation since he tore his ACL during the draft process and hasn’t been able to do much besides rehab. But he’s cool. He’s a quiet dude, and I’m kind of the same way. When we get back to the room we’ve been ready to crash. He’s a great roommate to have. He doesn’t snore so that’s nice.

When it came time for our first practice on Thursday, I just wanted to pick up where I left off after OTAs. I wanted to make sure I was crisp in my fundamentals and that I was running to the ball. Everybody had those first-day jitters, but you don’t want to get too amped up because you need to be consistent throughout all of camp. I thought I had a pretty good first day. Obviously there’s always things you can work on, but it went well overall.

Right now I’m playing MIKE linebacker, which is a completely new position to me. It’s a 180 from what I did in college. At BYU, I was out in space, playing an outside linebacker role that was almost like a nickel. Now I’m playing MIKE, where not only am I having to make different reads from behind the line of scrimmage – reading guards, fullbacks and running backs – but also take command of the defense and make all the calls. I feel like it’s a natural position for me, though. I’ve been able to feel it out pretty well. I’m getting comfortable with my job but also everyone else’s role on the defense. I love it so far. I think it’s exactly where I’m supposed to be.

After our first practice, we watched the film to clean up what we did wrong. I think Coach Saleh was pleased. Our biggest thing is being sound in our technique and creating turnovers. Coach Meek (inside linebackers coach DeMeco Ryans) told us that we had a good first day. He always tells me to make sure to ask a lot of questions. He wants to make sure I understand everything so I can play faster.

The vibe in our linebackers’ room is pretty loose. But at the same time we get down to business and take our jobs seriously. We call ourselves the “CEOs” because we know we’re the ones who bring the energy to the defense. Our whole defense is just young and hungry. Us as a defense, we feel like we’ve got a great group. We’re ready to prove our worth. We’re establishing that culture and building on it every day.

Day 2 was another strong day for the defense. I think I played better on Friday – a little faster than I did on Thursday. I still had some missed assignments and need to change a couple of things, but for the most part I felt pretty good. Our defense as a whole had a strong practice on Friday. Coach Shanahan let us know that at the end of practice. We want to do that every day.

Saturday will be our first padded practice, and I absolutely can’t wait. I feel like throughout the whole draft process, everybody was discussing whether I was going to be a physical player or not at the next level. This is going to be my first chance to show them what I’ve got. It’s time to get it. Stay tuned… (continue to Warner's second blog here.)

View the top images from the first practice of 2018 training camp presented by SAP.

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