SANTA CLARA — After being thrust onto the field in the 49ers' 26-23 win over the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday, rookie defensive back Tarvarius Moore received a lot of praise from veteran corner Richard Sherman. Moore paid the complement back when he spoke about his mentor.
There were a few things going against Moore in his first extended play on the field. For one, the rookie from Southern Miss had been moved from safety to corner.
After making the transition, Moore had been practicing as the left-side cornerback. On Sunday, he was forced to play on the right side that was vacated by Ahkello Witherspoon after he was injured halfway through the first quarter.
Moore said that throughout it all, Sherman has been there for him throughout his first season.
“He’s the biggest supporter for me,” Moore said Wednesday. “One of my mentors. He is one of the reasons that I can definitely say coming here was a blessing for me.
“To transition from safety to corner and have a guy like that in my room, sitting next to him everyday. I take in as much information from him as I can each day. It’s definitely a blessing.”
Moore said that Sherman’s advice was just to stay calm and play his game. Not that Moore wasn't a bit nervous during his first few snaps.
“It was nerve-wracking a little bit,” Moore said, “being something you dream about, being on the field with the starting defense. I was anxious to make a play for my teammates.”
But then, Sherman’s advice started to take hold of Moore. He tried to think less, and just play.
“After a while about you settle down,” Moore said, "and the nerves go away and at the end of the day it’s just football. You just go out there and compete and play to the best of your ability.
“It’s what he preaches to me every day. ‘It’s just football.’ That’s something I got from him. It’s something we’ve been doing all our lives The stage is just bigger but the game is still the same.”
Moore finished the day with seven total tackles (five solo) and two pass break-ups. He said he was successful in part because he knew wouldn't be perfect, even though he wanted to be.
“As a rookie,” Moore said, “you have a lot of things going on in your mind. You want to be perfect. But veteran guys know you can’t be, there’s no such thing. You have to throw it out of your mind, and just let it loose and go out there and play.”
Another aspect that Moore said was in his favor was not knowing he would be forced into action ahead of time. He actually didn’t have much time to think about his newfound role. While the transition to corner was a challenge at first, he said it was more mental than physical.
The most important thing that Moore has learned in his rookie year?
“Stay composed. Stay even. Continue to work and get better, and it will all fall in place.”