Hawk flying high with Packers

If A.J. Hawk had lasted until the No. 6 pick in this year's NFL draft, he'd probably be a 49er right now. But Hawk was taken No. 5 by Green Bay, which certainly hasn't been disappointed as the rookie leads the Pack with 126 tackles. Here, Hawk talks Packers & 49ers and gives his takes on several subjects regarding the two teams, including going head-to-head this week with No. 6 pick Vernon Davis.

On if he could have seen himself as a 49er after visiting with the team before the draft: "Yeah, I went there. I liked the area and the coaching staff a lot. I thought it was definitely a possibility at the time, but I'm obviously happy where I am."

On how his role has evolved throughout the season: "It's not too much different. I'm on the field more now. I think early on in the season we put a little more dime in and I'd be off the field more. Now we don't go to dime as much and I get to stay on the field pretty much the entire game, which is OK by me. It hadn't changed too much though. In our defense, we don't change what we do too much from week to week. My role hasn't changed too much."

On what his basic responsibilities are: "In our defense, anyone who watches knows we match up a lot. We try to be pretty aggressive in what we do. We have corners who like to bump and it's just what we do as a team."

On what he has seen of Frank Gore on film and what they will have to do to slow him down: "I think he's got everything you want in a back. He runs really hard, and has great vision. He's a guy who is going to be a big challenge for us and I'm looking forward to it. He's obviously a great back having a great year so we hope we're up for the challenge and we feel confident. There is no secret in stopping the run you have to be physical up front. The up-front seven needs to tackle well. Frank runs through tackles, and I think that's something that he does a good job in doing. You need to make sure you have to get 11 guys to the ball because he runs very hard. If he gets a crease he will go for it, and he's a guy who can go for 80 yards. We need to make sure we gang tackle him and get everyone to the ball."

On what he has seen of Vernon Davis and if there is a chance they will go up against each other on Sunday: "It's definitely a possibility. I'm sure it can happen. I've seen him on film and he looks great. He's a big, strong, fast guy who can run straight routes, and he's a good blocker too. I knew that before he got there. I think that now that he's healthy, he's going to have a great year."

On what he attributes to the Packers defense giving up at least 34 points in each of the last three weeks: "There's nothing huge going on that we can't fix. There are little things here and there. We might have 10 guys on the same page and one guy might take a bad step or do something wrong. That's what has been hurting us, but it's something that we feel we can get fixed, and we need to make sure we do if we want to get this thing going in the right direction.

On what it is about Pat Tillman that inspired him to grow his hair out: "Some of my buddies and I at Ohio State have a lot of respect for what he stood for and what he believed in and how he stood for his morals and what he thought was right. Everyone respects that. It's tragic what happened to him, but he is a hero in this country."

On if he gets more motivated going up against someone like Frank Gore who has one of the top rushing averages per carry and yards from scrimmage in the league: "I think you like playing against some of the best in the league and he definitely is. He's leading the NFC in rushing so he's been very successful this season running the ball. That does motivate you and it's going to be a big challenge. If you want to be a great defense you have to stop some of the great backs and offenses in this league, and they are one of them for sure."

On his first reaction to meeting or talking to Brett Favre: "He's a regular old guy who gets along with everyone. I think he's a guy who keeps everyone loose, and has a lot of fun. I noticed that from day one that he enjoys everyday here."

On if he was intimidated, in awe, etc., upon meeting him: "I wasn't intimidated or anything, I was just a huge fan of how he played. I think any football fan enjoys how he plays football and how excited he gets. I was looking forward to meeting him and it went well. I'm glad to be on his team."

On who is going to win this season's college national championship game: "I think it looks good for Ohio State. Their team is so good, their offense is so explosive and they can score so many points. They have a defense that's unbelievable and can create so many turnovers. I think their chances are good and I'm excited to watch the game. Hopefully they do well."

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