Hufanga embraces friendly competition with ‘incredible’ Lance originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
SANTA CLARA — Talanoa Hufanga made the biggest play of practice facing Trey Lance in training camp on Friday, but the safety has the utmost respect for the 49ers quarterback.
In Lance’s second series of 11-on-11 work, the 21-year-old quarterback attempted a second consecutive completion to George Kittle, but there seemed to be a miscommunication. Hufanga jumped the route and picked off Lance, and ran it back for what could have been a touchdown.
The entire defense went into celebration mode and Hufanga received congratulations from safety Jimmie Ward, cornerback Emmanuel Moseley, linebacker Fred Warner and defensive backs coach Cory Undlin. Still, after practice, the safety spoke with high praise for his teammate.
“Man, he’s incredible,” Hufanga said. “Being around him, I get to talk to him each day. The intention that he brings into the building each day, first people in last people out. The guy just works. You see it on the field.”
Hufanga admits that there is healthy competition between them, but all with the intent of making each other better on the field. Facing each other in every practice is challenging, but it is the perfect way to prepare for the start of the season.
“We always kind of chirp at each other walking by because we know what kind of day it is,” Hufanga said. “We want to work, The competition is amazing. He can do anything. Any throw that you ask of him, he can do it. It’s a testament to who he is as well. Very grateful to be on the same field as him.”
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Safeties coach Daniel Bullocks spoke during OTAs about takeaways being a focus for the secondary in 2022 after ranking 20th in the league last season with an average of 1.2 per game. Hufanga has been seen with the first team on defense competing for the starting strong safety role along with Tarvarius Moore and George Odum Jr.
If Hufanga keeps forcing takeaways, he could very well see himself on the field next to Ward in Week 1 against the Chicago Bears.
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