MIAMI BEACH, Fla. — Fred Warner and Kyle Van Noy never played together at BYU — they missed each other by a year — but that hasn’t stopped the younger Warner from gleaning knowledge from Van Noy.

The middle linebackers are both in the NFL now — Warner with the San Francisco 49ers, preparing for his first Super Bowl on Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs, while Van Noy recently finished his third full season with the New England Patriots.

Warner said Van Noy, who played in the previous three Super Bowls with the Patriots, passed along his film study habits to the second-year pro, a valuable attribute that’s helped Warner become a key member of a stingy 49ers defense.

“Kyle Van Noy was a guy that went to BYU and kind of took me under his wing, and he was just a film junkie from being at BYU, and I kind of took that from him.” — San Francisco linebacker Fred Warner

With Warner calling defensive plays, San Francisco was second in the league in total defense (281.8 yards per game) during the regular season while also giving up 112.6 rushing yards and 19.4 points a game. In the playoffs, the 49ers have built on that, giving up only 252.5 total yards, 41.5 rushing yards and 15 points per game.

“Kyle Van Noy was a guy that went to BYU and kind of took me under his wing, and he was just a film junkie from being at BYU, and I kind of took that from him,” Warner said during media availability late last week. “And then obviously, once you get to the NFL, it’s a whole nother ball game.”

Warner has had a breakout sophomore season in 2019, starting every game and leading San Francisco with 118 tackles while adding nine pass deflections, three sacks, three forced fumbles and his first pro pick-six, a 46-yarder.

The evolution of Fred Warner
Former BYU Cougars linebacker Fred Warner is ripping it up in San Francisco

The film study has helped Warner play more instinctually.

“You can’t just go out there just hoping you’re going to figure things out. You’ve got to be able to anticipate what’s going on. You can’t know that unless you’re looking at the tape so you can see what they’re giving you,” he said.

Following the NFC and AFC conference championship games Jan. 19, which solidified the Super Bowl LIV matchup between the 49ers and Chiefs, Van Noy sent out congratulations via Twitter to the BYU connections headed to this year’s title game — safety Daniel Sorensen and coach Andy Reid are there with Kansas City — and finished the message with a shoutout to Warner: “My youngin @fred_warner so proud!!”

Warner and the 49ers will be tested Sunday when they go up against quarterback Patrick Mahomes and Reid’s offensive system that’s averaged 419 total yards, 304 passing yards and 43 points in their postseason run.

“The way he uses his weapons that he has, having one of the best quarterbacks in the game right now with the weapons he has around him, they’re able to do a lot of different things,” Warner said of Reid. “That’s why I think you kind of see the success that they have. So, yeah, we’ll make sure we’re covering our bases.”