Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
(Chris Detrick | The Salt Lake Tribune) Utah Utes safety Brian Blechen poses for a portrait after a practice Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2012.
Utah football: Brian Blechen ready to be back on field
Utah football » Safety eager to create big plays after three-game suspension.
First Published Sep 18 2012 07:19 pm • Last Updated Sep 20 2012 11:03 am

Utah’s secondary is happy to have Brian Blechen, their big-play guy, back on the field this week. But they were also happy to be rid of him.

Blechen, who was suspended for the first three games for breaking team rules, spent his time on the scout team doing all that he could to terrorize Utah’s starters. The Utes used him mostly on the scout team offense, allowing him to go up against his usual teammates.

At a glance

Brian Blechen file

» 6-foot-2, 218 pounds, Jr.

Hometown » Moorpark, Calif.

Of note » Starting safety since his true freshman season. ... Can also play at linebacker. ... 2010 Freshman All-American and 2011 honorable mention all-Pac-12. ... Tied for eighth in the Pac-12 in interceptions (3) and fifth in forced fumbles (3) last year. ... Finished third on the team in tackles per game (78) in 2011.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

"He was the quarterback for us, the receiver — whatever we needed him to do, he did it," Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said. "He probably worked harder on the scout team the last three weeks than he ever would have as a defender as far as the reps he got."

While Quade Chappuis filled in for the Utes to the best of his abilities and has 13 tackles and a forced fumble to his name, Blechen will give the Utes a lift. A former quarterback turned safety, Blechen has regularly earned postseason honors thanks to his reputation for creating big plays.

In two seasons he has seven interceptions, two of which were game-saving picks. Pac-12 offenses should take note: Blechen is bored of picking on his own teammates and ready to resume his role of being a big-time player.

"I can’t wait," he said. "I think I am in good shape. My back pedal is a little rusty, but I feel good as far as sprinting goes and good on the routes. It will be good to be back out there."

Driving Blechen, aside from his natural competitiveness, is a desire to make up for his absences.

Blechen signed with the Utes out of Moorpark High School in California and made an instant impact for the Utes when he intercepted a pass on the first play of overtime against Pitt to set up the winning field goal.

He has been a starter ever since and a natural leader of the defense, so being sidelined for what he admitted was a dumb decision was especially hard.

Most difficult of all was watching the Utes lose at Utah State.

story continues below
story continues below

"It was tough," he said. "Taking a loss like that hurts, but I was proud of the way the team responded."

Even though Blechen is slated to start, Whittingham warned that he would still have to earn the job this week in practice.

"The bottom line is you can lose your job while you are down if the other guy performs at a higher level," Whittingham said. "We’ll have to see how the week plays out."

Chappuis, a former walk-on, said he’d understand if he is demoted to Blechen’s backup.

"Hopefully it will make us better having him back out there," he said. "He is an exciting player who is fun to watch."

While having one of your best players suspended certainly isn’t an ideal situation, Whittingham did say the silver lining was that Chappuis and the other safeties improved with the extra reps.

"Terrell Reese, Tyron Morris-Edwards, Quade, those guys have all progressed," Whittingham said. "I’ve been pleased with how they’ve all done."

However as far as they’ve come, they aren’t quite up to Blechen’s level when it comes to creating plays. Blechen seems to have a special talent for that.

"Just hustle," he said of what he can bring to the team. "The play may not always come to you, but you can go get the play."

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment

About Reader Comments

Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.