It won't be the first time the two have lined up on opposite sides of the field, but 49ers linebacker Fred Warner isn't taking his preparation for facing Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen lightly ahead of a showdown on "Monday Night Football."
"He's always had that strong arm that everybody has talked about, but he's continued to progress as a true NFL quarterback," Warner told reporters Thursday. "Just with him going through his reads and making the big-time throws, being able to progress in his read throughout a play."
The two first faced off back in college at the 2016 Poinsettia Bowl in San Diego, pitting Allen's Wyoming Cowboys against Warner's BYU Cougars. Allen finished 17-of-32 passing, throwing for 207 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. Warner had 10 total tackles, including 1.5 for loss.
Much was made early in the season of the 49ers' struggles with defending mobile quarterbacks, and Warner knows that element of Allen's game will be a priority for San Francisco's defense on Monday night.
"That's something that you have to make sure you're accounting for," Warner continued. "Because he is such a big guy, he can shake off tacklers. There's a lot to be prepared for, that's why we gotta make sure we're studying the tape and seeing if we can catch anything to help to our advantage."
Warner and the Cougars came out with the win over Allen's Cowboys, as an interception on Wyoming's final drive sealed up the victory for BYU. The man who pulled down that interception to close out the win was safety Kai Nacua, who the 49ers just so happened to promote to the active roster this week after signing him to the practice squad on Nov. 24. Unsurprisingly, Warner is thrilled to have his former teammate once again sharing a locker room in Week 13.
"Super excited for him," Warner said. "Anytime I get around the BYU guys, it's just like a brotherhood that we have, and Kai was just such an amazing player at BYU, he's kind of gone to a couple different teams throughout the league, but just his ball-hawking ability, having 14 career picks in college, I'm just excited for him possibly, at any point, get some opportunities."
Perhaps that familiarity with Allen will help the 49ers as they look to continue to climb back into the NFC playoff picture, and clearly both Warner and Nacua will be ready to go Sunday at State Farm Stadium.