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Utah had the lifestyle he desired, he says. "It had everything I wanted, and all of my family had gone there. I went to one practice, and Urban Meyer was jumping on everybody. I heard more F-bombs at that practice than in any R-rated movie. I liked football to be intense."
After graduating from Skyline, Bergstrom went straightaway on an LDS Church mission to Sacramento, Calif. It was there that he learned a key to success in football — embracing what he calls the "daily grind."
It was the same when he returned to Utah, where he says the major football emphasis is "learning to love hard work, learning to be comfortable with the uncomfortable, respecting the process."
"I learned how to play football there," he says. "The coaches do a great job of teaching that."
Bergstrom blew through his freshman and sophomore seasons, getting a lot of playing time, and then bloomed into his full collegiate potential during his junior and senior years. In between, he married former Utah and current Baltimore Ravens defensive lineman Paul Kruger’s sister, Jessica.
One tip Kruger gave his brother-in-law was that NFL coaches love offensive linemen who sport an attitude, who have some nasty to them, who talk trash and hit guys at the end of plays.
Jessica constantly reminded her husband before games: "If you get in a fight, that’s great."
Having taken his lessons at Utah, especially through that recently completed senior year when the Utes dropped to 0-4 in the Pac-12 and had to heave-ho their way back to respectability, Bergstrom now is ready for whatever comes next.
Whittingham said earlier this season that Bergstrom has "the mass and the great feet, athleticism and mentality to go far."
The Salt Lake City boy is on the verge of doing exactly that — at the Senior Bowl, at the NFL Combine, in the draft. And if he does, maybe he’ll go crazy and celebrate by eating a salad and calling it quits.
GORDON MONSON hosts "The Gordon Monson Show" weekdays from 2-6 p.m. on 97.5 FM/1280 AM The Zone. Twitter: @GordonMonson.
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