Willis watching Reggie run

Reggie Bush burned the 49ers for four touchdowns last year in the breakout game of his rookie season, but now San Francisco has a speedy middle linebacker who may help keep Bush under wraps when the teams meet this season. Here, rookie Patrick Willis - currently the NFL leader in tackles per game - gives his takes on Sunday's match-up against Bush and what he brings to that challenge.

On his impressions of Bush: "He's a very explosive back and you have to really be aware of where he is at all times. We just have to play good team defense."

On how he'll approach bringing Bush down: "Just do what I always do. You have to know who you're playing against. I don't tackle every guy the same way. With a guy like Reggie Bush, you can't get out there and get to dancing with him, you just gotta go. Because that's what he wants you to do. His feet are so quick. He wants you to get out there and start dancing with him. So my thing is, it's not about me when I get out there in one-on-one space. To me, it's going to be having those 10 other guys coming to the ball. And I know they're going to be coming to the ball. So I don't get worried if I miss a tackle, because there's not too many people who can tackle a guy who's as explosive and quick as he is 1-on-1 unless you happen to catch him. So I'm just going to trust my other defensive guys are going to be around and I'll take my shot."

On Bush's breakaway speed: "Fast and quick are totally two different things. He's probably one of the quickest backs I've ever faced in my life. I mean, I've faced receivers too that have been quick, but he's probably one of the quickest backs I've faced. As far as the fastest … In the NFL, a lot of people are fast. It's not the speed, it's the quickness when you get up on him 1-on-1. He's a quick guy. When you have somebody quick like that, you can't get out there and play his game, you just have to go and trust each other that guys are going to be coming behind you."

On taking the right angles to tackle Bush: "I learned a long time ago that football is all about angles. If you take a good angle, then you're liable to get a good chance to catch em. But if you take bad angles… A guy can run a 4.6 (40-yard dash), but if you take bad angles, you won't catch him. Football is about angles. You just hope you take some good angles toward the ball."

On Willis bringing speed to the San Francisco defense to help deal with Bush: "All I know is that I'm here and I'm glad to be here. And whatever ability I bring to the team… If we just play good unit football, good team football, good defense, then it won't be about how many touchdowns Reggie Bush scored. It will be how a good defense played well to contain a good running back.

On whether the match-up against Bush inspires him: "To me, this is my first year here, so every guy we play against has a reptutation to me. So I'm just honored to be playing this game. I wouldn't care if we played a guy like Reggie Bush week in and week out. Because to me, each guy that is starting at running back is a good running back, and they wouldn't be there if they weren't. It's not about the other guy on the other team, it's about what we do as a unit. That's just what I keep in my mind."

On whether he'll be focusing on Bush: "Don't get me wrong. The guy's good, I have respect for him. But when it's all said and done, it's about how we play as a unit. You just have to be aware of where he is at all times, and that's a fact. We know the offense revolves around him, especially with Deuce (McAllister) out. We just have to go play our game plan."

Niners Digest Top Stories