Asomugha on the 49ers’ Super Bowl optimism: “It’s coming from a real place. I’ve never been around that.”

SANTA CLARA – Nnamdi Asomugha spoke at the podium in the media tent Saturday afternoon. Here’s what he said.

Q: Are you looking forward to putting the pads on today?

ASOMUGHA: I am. I’m always excited to start that portion of football. We’ve been doing shorts for a while, so it’s good.

Q: Real football begins now?

ASOMUGHA: It’s not like we’re going into full, live tackling immediately. It’s just the next stage.

Q: Does it help you determine where you are with your press coverage?

ASOMUGHA: It’s definitely good for when you want to be aggressive to have the pads back on. Up until now it’s been working on your feet, maybe working some of your off game. But now I think the aggressive part of it starts to play a role.

Q: How does the scheme here fit your skill set compared to what they had you do in Philadelphia?

ASOMUGHA: It’s a really nice scheme here. I said earlier in the spring that there’s a great mix or man coverages and zone coverages. I don’t think they’re heavily dominant one way or the other, maybe a little more zone as far as the call but certain things turn into man. I think the aggressive nature of the defense is really good.

Q: At this stage in your career, what does a fresh start on a winning team mean to you?

ASOMUGHA: It means a lot because there’s always a feeling of a fresh start because the previous season has never really been that great. In my career, I’ve never been on a playoff team, so it’s never been like, “Oh, we’re coming in and we’re going to build off of that.” It’s always like, “OK, fresh start, let’s put it all together.” I think the fact that they’re building off the Super Bowl definitely changes the whole landscape of how this season is going mentally for me so far. It’s a fresh start but it’s building off success.

Q: What have you observed being in that locker room, being around the guys who made it to the Super Bowl and lost? Do you sense the determination to return?

ASOMUGHA: Yeah, the hunger is definitely there. It’s a talented group. When you’re a talented group can still be mature and still be disciplined and still be focused and still be working hard, then you know you’ve got a chance to do some special things and I think that’s what we have in the locker room. It’s not a situation where you know that you’re talented so things are just going to work out. You don’t get that sense here at all. It’s just not the way it is. It’s a beautiful thing.

Q: Is it a different culture here from what you’re used to?

ASOMUGHA: Yeah, it’s definitely a different culture. The whole environment is a lot more positive, a lot more healthy, a lot more optimistic and it’s true optimism. It’s not like all 32 teams coming into the offseason saying, “This is the year, we’re going to the Super Bowl this year.” It’s coming from a real place. I’ve never been around that. Just a really good locker room of guys.

Q: Have you gotten a feel of whether they want you on the right side or left side?

ASOMUGHA: Not really. I’ve been playing a little bit of both. I think the main thing is getting down the defense and all of the different things that can happen.

Q: When you were in Philadelphia, which side did you play?

ASOMUGHA: I actually played both. With the Raiders I was mostly on the right side – the right side of the defense and the left side of the offense – unless there were times where I would just follow a guy.

Q: Where do you see yourself fitting into this team as you’ve gotten to this point?

ASOMUGHA: I’m still letting it play out. I think I’ve been fitting in well so far, learning the defense and just being able to make plays. That’s been one of the big things I’ve been happy about. I’ve been able to make plays in the defense in the spring and the summer.