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Talanoa Hufanga to Make First Career Start Against the Bears

Veteran starter Jaquiski Tartt will miss the 49ers' Sunday game against the Chicago Bears with a knee injury.
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CHICAGO -- The 49ers may have a changing of the guard at strong safety.

Veteran starter Jaquiski Tartt will miss the 49ers' Sunday game against the Chicago Bears with a knee injury, which means rookie Talanoa Hufanga will make his first career start.

It's unclear how long Tartt's knee injury will keep him out, but he will be a free agent in the offseason, and Hufanga most likely is his replacement. So the 49ers might just make the transition now if Hufanga plays well.

Here's what he said Friday about his feelings heading into his first start.

Q: Do you feel better and more comfortable in the defense now than you did Week 1?

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HUFANGA: "Oh definitely. You grow every week -- that's part of the game. You can never stop learning, even if you're a vet. I've learned that as I've gotten here. My lockermate, Mohamed Sanu, he takes me under his wing. He teaches me the offensive side of the game and tells me how to take care of my body and continue to communicate when I'm on the field."

Q: You forced lots of turnovers in college. Are there things that allowed you to make those play, and do those things translate to this level?

HUFANGA: "It's funny, I found myself the first couple years in college not creating turnovers. You think in your head, 'I want the interception, I want the turnover,' but my Junior year was when I started to just let things happen. You never want to wish for something, because then you're probably going to get scored on. So when you let things come to you and play the game naturally and be very instinctive, things start to happen. Hopefully we can create lots of turnovers. We haven't created a bunch, but hopefully they come in bunches. But first, we have to stop the run."

Here's his full interview: