Player Feature: Talanoa Hufanga
- His name is pronounced tal-uh-NOE-uh who-FAWN-guh.
- Comes from a family of football players, as brother, T.J., was a linebacker at Oregon State from 2013-14 and cousins Marlon and Tuli Tuipulotu are both defensive linemen at USC.
- Grew up on a farm where he and his family looked after goats, cows, chickens, pigs, dogs and cats. On his farm, they would drive dirt bikes and tractors, but taking care of his goat was always his favorite activity. "Growing up on a farm, it's a different kind of childhood. I didn't have neighborhood friends to hang out with," he said. "On the weekends it was mandatory that my brother and I were working. We weeded, cleaned the barn, fed the animals, took eggs out of the chicken coop and maintained the pig pens."
Read more about Talanoa Hufanga by clicking his bio below.
This month's "Coach's Corner" comes from 49ers defensive coordinator, DeMeco Ryans.
How would you describe CB Josh Norman's personality?
"I think Josh, his personality, he's a quiet guy. He doesn't say much, but he's a true pro that's the one thing I like about Josh. I just love veterans who can come in and can take young guys under their wing that means a lot to me. That's how I was brought up in the league and that's kind of how the league just progresses. You kind of learn from the vets and it's the vet's duty to teach the younger guys. And that's how guys did it for me coming in. And that's what I still see going on, which is cool to see even to this day is our veteran guys coming in, no matter when they get here, like taking that leadership role. And Josh has done a great job at that, but he's a quiet guy, he speaks when he needs to speak, he's intense out on the field, plays with a high level of energy. So, I liked Josh, happy we were able to get him and get a veteran who's done it for a while in this league at a high level. So happy we were able to get him when we did."
You guys have talked a lot about, obviously trying to get more takeaways. I know you've had a lot of fumbles that have come out, maybe you just haven't been able to fall on them. When you went back and looked over the Bye Week how close are you to maybe getting more and the tide turning on that?
"Yeah, the turnovers are definitely an issue. We have to get more turnovers. We have to take it away to give our offense the ball. And that's our goal every time we go out, but just looking at it, we're attacking the ball. You watch [LB] Fred [Warner], you watch Josh, [CB] Dontae [Johnson] the last time out versus Arizona, like guys are attacking the ball. The ball is coming out. Just hasn't fell our way yet, but we're going to keep plugging away. We're going to keep attacking the ball. We're going to keep as much as we can, guys just keep talking about it, keep putting emphasis on it. That's not going to change every week, every day. Our emphasis is on the ball, it just has to happen. And I feel like, it just takes one game when it turns your way. It just takes one game, and we need that very soon for our guys. But guys have been working hard at it in practice, emphasizing it in practice, getting it done in practice, getting the ball out in practice. Now we just need to keep doing what they've been doing with the mindset of the ball and then it'll come our way soon."
Fred Warner, when he started here, a lot was put on his plate and then the next season things were kind of taken off of his plate so he could play faster. He kind of thrive in that, I think more things are his responsibility now. Where do you see his role? How would you define it in comparison to the previous seasons?
"Yeah, I think Fred's role, it really hasn't changed. It hasn't changed much. He still has the same amount of responsibility that he's always had when it comes to just being that quarterback of the defense. Just getting the calls, getting our guys set and lined up. That hasn't changed and Fred's one thing that's been great about Fred is he's a great communicator. And he does a really great job of communicating, but he can get that done, the communication part of it and he can go play at a high level. So, I don't see anything where it's changed for him. He's able to handle it and he's able to do it at a high level. And he's been doing a really good job of it."
How does DL Nick Bosa prepare each week? Like in terms of film room or meetings, we can see what he does on the field, obviously he's in shape. What does he do to prepare?
"Yeah. When it comes to Nick and all those guys in the room, Nick, getting in there with [defensive line] coach [Kris] [Kocurek]. Kocurek does a great job with those guys breaking down our opposing offensive lineman and really doing a great study of who they're going against. So, he gets in with Kocurek and does a really good job of studying a tackle that he's going against and understanding how they're going to try to block him and just detailing it out to a point that when he lines up on a Sunday, he knows exactly how a guy's going to block him and he knows what moves he can make. And the thing about Bosa is if something changes, he's such an instinctive player, if it's not that way, he's very quick to change and react to whatever he's given. So, he's a very gifted athlete, first and foremost, but he's also a very smart athlete as well, a smart pass rusher."
To learn more about Coach Ryans, click the bio below.
WON of Us: Nova
Regardless of her distance from the 49ers, when Nova first saw Joe Cool lead his team, she knew she'd be a fan for life.
I was nine years old when I became part of the 49ers Faithful! I can remember watching Joe Montana and Jerry Rice and I knew instantly that I liked this team. Being from New Jersey, we usually only get to see the New York Jets or Giants. But when those teams played the Niners or if San Francisco was on primetime, we all got to see the brilliance of the 49ers unfold.
It just seemed like every time I saw Joe Montana on TV, he was completing a touchdown pass! Here I was an inner-city girl growing up on the east coast, the New York Giants weren't winning much so I found myself a better team to root for back west!
What do you love about WON?
I love that it brings together women who love a sport predominantly played by men, but we are just as passionate if not more than the male fanbase. I love that not only the Niners, but the NFL is getting better when it comes to treating female fans more equally. I can remember being a little girl wanting a 49ers jersey that was actually cut for a female and it didn't exist. We now have that which I am thankful for, but I know the selection can get even better!
In addition, I love that this group provides a platform for women to share and participate in football related events and content. In fact, amidst the pandemic myself and my VP, Briana Ale founded a new 49ers Fan Chapter, Female 49ers Faithful in New Jersey. We still have so much that we want to do but our fanbase as been so supportive of our launch. It's like a version of WON for those of us that live on the East Coast. It's inspiring to meet and hear about so many women who are just as passionate, and it is breath of fresh air to know directly from the team that we are appreciated as fans.
Was there one inspirational moment in team history that confirmed your 49ers fandom?
When Steve Young won Super Bowl XXIX! Joe Montana was the one that made me a 49ers fan, but my favorite moment had to be when Young won one as the starting QB himself. He had such high expectations to fill and when he finally won it was such a relief for him and Niners fans all around. He had already been an MVP but to bring the Super Bowl back home and to see him put everything on the line to do it was special. He has to be my all-time favorite 49ers player as well. I've been lucky enough to meet him when his book released a few years ago. He came all the way to New Jersey for a signing and I cried when I got to the front of the line to meet him. He was so funny in person which was such a thrill!
Get to know WON member Nova
What 49ers tradition or superstition do you/your family have?
The number one thing is to wear Niners gear on gameday. Regardless of where we are, if it's gameday we are repping the team. One tradition we had before 2020 was to go to Nunose Pavilion in New Jersey which was owned by a 49ers fan and watch the game there. Every week I would order the garlic shrimp and yellow rice and for some reason that was my good luck meal. Unfortunately, the restaurant closed during the pandemic and never re-opened. But that opens the door for new traditions!
What impact has the 49ers had on your life?
The 49ers and all sports are so important to me, my family, and our culture overall. When we all were stuck at home last year just wishing for better days, it was sports that really motivated us to keep moving forward. It allowed for something to look forward to and took our minds off all of the issues of the world for a few hours and I'll be forever grateful for that.
The under appreciated side of sports in 2020 were the sacrifices that the players and their families made. Professional football already has so many risks involved but to leave their families and out themselves out there with COVID-19 raging was so inspiring. It was greatly appreciated as well. Those three hours helped cope with so much social anxiety and grief. To the players, coaches and staff, thank you for inspiring us.
2021 Crucial Catch Community Tuesday
This October, the annual 49ers PREP presented by U.S. Bank Mentorship Academy Presented by William V. Campbell Family Foundation returned! The three-step program is designed to provide high school football players with the opportunity to develop the skills necessary to succeed and be leaders on and off the field.
Having positive mentors is critical in a young person's development. Through guided leadership from like-minded athletes in their community, the 49ers Mentorship Academy helps build character through accountability. The program began with an event hosted at Levi's® Stadium led by the San Francisco 49ers 2021 rookie class. Local high school football team's varsity captains participated in the program focused on leadership development and the importance of being and having positive role models in their life.
The 49ers PREP Mentorship program operates on the "train the trainer" model with three tiers of teaching, designed to give young people an opportunity to learn from their mentors as well as become mentors. 49ers rookies take the role of mentors to the high School captains and led an hour-long program, mentoring the high school varsity captains. The captains are then provided the platform to take what they learned from the 49ers and become mentors to the local youth football players in their community.
Tenured Women of the 49ers Front Office: Bernadette Pullon-Garcia
In September 1999, the 49ers hired Bernadette Pullon-Garcia to handle the administrative side of stadium operations at Candlestick Park (then known as 3Com Park). She quickly realized she was part of a skeleton crew working at the old wind-swept stadium.
"When I first began working for the 49ers, our office was located in Candlestick Park," Bernadette said. "At that time, our team only consisted of three people: (then-Vice President of Stadium Operations) Murlan Fowell, (then-Director of Stadium Operations) Jim Mercurio and myself." The employees of the ticketing department were the only other 49ers staff with office space at Candlestick. Everyone else worked out of team headquarters in Santa Clara. Still, the stadium ops and ticketing staff were not completely alone.
At that time, employees from the City and County of San Francisco (which owned Candlestick Park) and the San Francisco Giants continued to work at Candlestick, but not for much longer. As the 1999 Major League Baseball season came to a close, the Giants played their final games at the storied stadium before moving to Pacific Bell (now Oracle) Park six miles up the road in the city's South Beach neighborhood for the 2000 season.
September signaled the end of the baseball season and the start of the 49ers regular season schedule. That meant Candlestick had to undergo a major transition.
This Month in 49ers History
Nov. 26, 1995
The 49ers intercepted four passes and posted 171 yards in returns while thumping the St. Louis Rams 41-13 at Candlestick Park. San Francisco defensive back Eric Davis picked off a Chris Miller pass and returned it 86 yards to score, while Tyrone Drakeford intercepted two passes for 50 yards and safety Tim McDonald returned one for 35 yards. Wide receiver J.J. Stokes hauled in touchdown passes of 18 yards and 16 yards from quarterback Steve Young. Davis earned a Pro Bowl berth after the 1995 season.