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Michael Wilhoite talks return to practice, 49ers defensive line, NaVorro Bowman

The San Francisco 49ers welcomed Michael Wilhoite back to practice on Tuesday. He spoke with the media, discussing getting back to practice, playing on Saturday, the team's new-look defensive line, and NaVorro Bowman's return. We've got a full transcript, and you can watch video here.

Question not heard:

Obviously, you know, everything's moving a little faster than usual. Trying to get the calls out, trying to see what the offense is doing, figuring out how to play each play, use my teammates to my advantage, to my help. But I thought it was good. I was just happy to be there. I mean it's just fun to run, fun to be out there with the team, running around, being a leader. Showing them that I do come to work, and work too. It was fun.

On if he expects to play Saturday:

Yea, that's what I've been told so far. This whole time I've been going off what they tell me, what they want me to do. So far that's what I've heard, so we'll see what happens. As we get closer to that day, I think they're just slowly working me in, seeing what I can do.

On getting out with the first team right away:

Yea, it's different. In the past, if I was hurt I probably wouldn't be here, so, it's nice to know that they value me and they look at me as a guy that can come in and play right away, and make a difference on the field when I'm out there.

On mental aspect of being hurt and not truly being a part of everything:

Yea, as a guy who's been here a while, you like to be a leader, a starter, but it's kind of hard to yell at guys, or tell guys. Try to encourage guys, and tell them I've been through that because they haven't seen it. I'm just a guy on the sidelines, so it's good to be able to get out there and say, I can correct guys, or help guys, or they can correct me and help me. I can go through the movements with them instead of just watching them and thinking, or saying I could or should be able to do that.

On NaVorro Bowman being back:

Yea, always good to see that monster out there. He's always making plays, his instincts are great. I just like learning from him. Being out there, being able to talk to him, hearing what he's thinking, seeing what he's seeing. So, no, it was awesome.

On potential difficulty of transition to new scheme:

It can be difficult, but we don't have time for difficult. We've got to make it smooth, we've got to make it good because the season's right around the corner. At this point, we've got to start smoothing things out, make sure we know where we're supposed to be, on point. So that way come Monday night in a few weeks, there is no difficulties, there is no transition anymore. It's just play football.

On new vibe at camp:

I think guys are just motivated right now. I think guys are working hard. I think there's no distractions, everybody's focused on the task at hand. We're ready for a good trip to Denver, and playing against a different offense. A Hall of fame quarterback, some really good receivers and skill position guys. So, we're looking forward to it.

On approach joint practices:

The same approach as when we go out here and practice against each other. Everybody's trying to get better, everybody's grinding, and everybody's trying to benefit. I think Denver's gonna use us to benefit, and I think we're going to use them to benefit and get better. I think the approach is the exact same. You go into it, you're mentally focused, you're thinking about all the checks you've got to make, all the guys you gotta guard, and you just go out there and play football.

On being able to go against another team in practice:

For sure. I mean me, going against my own teammates is new. This is my first time being out here. For me it's definitely not old yet. For these guys, I'm sure, we can always play against these guys. We can play against them for 16 weeks, every day in practice. So it's always fun on a Sunday to play against somebody else, or throughout the week. So I think it will be fun, it'll be a real good experience for everybody. Especially young guys.

On if he needs more reps for Saturday, or wait for regular season:

That's a good question. I don't know. I don't think that I need them, but I think they could beneficial or useful. Be good for me. But no matter what, whether I don't get a lot or I do get a lot, I think I'll benefit either way. Even if I'm not in there, I'll always be mentally in tuned, paying attention, which makes the transition smoother when I get out here like today.

On who to expect big things from with defensive changes:

Other than NaVorro Bowman? I think really, honestly, our whole d-line. I mean they've been playing so well all camp, dominating the run, dominating the pass rush. I mean you see guys like 64, Mike Purcell, stepping up. Tony Jerod-Eddie's played well. Ian, Glenn, then Dockett coming in there. So I think we just have a really good, solid d-line. Even the rookie, Arik, has played really well. I think, I can't really single out one guy. It's just the whole d-line, I think everybody should keep an eye on and watch. I think it's going to be really special up there.

On what to expect from Bowman:

Greatness. You know him. You know him being NaVorro, I think he'll make great plays. I think as time progresses and he starts getting into his mode and his self, I think we can expect him to make plays, and him to be a physical player, great motor, you know, NaVorro Bowman.

On if there will need to be rotation for Bowman coming back:

Once the regular season starts, I'm expecting him to play full games. He's playing full practices, so I wouldn't expect him to sit out any. And I know he won't go for that, and doesn't want to sit out any. As long as he's healthy, I expect to see him in there.

On Brooks and potentially new approach this year (diet, yoga, etc):

Yea, Ahmad looks awesome. He's focused, he's into it, he's physically ready, he's mentally ready. But I feel like that's across the board. I feel like, right now, with the way last year went, and a lot of guys were sitting out, T-Brock, NaVorro, Glenn, Ian, we had so many guys that were in and out. And then Ahmad sat out a few games. So I think guys are just motivated and ready to show to the world that we are still a good team, and individually are good players, great players.