I had another opportunity to chat with another Ute defender this past weekend – Utah Safety Brian Blechen.
Blechen has been one of the great storylines this season. He is a true freshman filling large shoes from past great Utes secondaries.
Here’s the interview in Q&A format:
Dan Condie- Thanks so much for your time Brian, I appreciate it.
Brian Blechen- No problem. Thank you.
DC- Of course. Well, first off, great defensive effort from the Utes as a whole Saturday night. What does a win like that do for team chemistry?
BB- I think it just boosts it even more you know? Cuz playing as solid as we did, making big plays, limiting mental mistakes, limiting penalties, I think it’s a huge boost for the team as a whole.
DC- Absolutely. If you had to say, how close are the Utes to playing at their full potential on defense?
BB- Um, I think we’ve got our weaknesses but we’re getting more experienced and that potential keeps growing and we wont be satisfied you know?
DC- That’s the Whittingham mentality for sure. No matter how well you do, there’s always something to work on.
DC- So you played high school football in Moorpark, CA but you weren’t recruited as a Safety right?
BB- Yeah no, they recruited me as a quarterback.
DC- So how did that recruiting process go for ya? Which coach came out to recruit you?
BB- Well, Coach (John) Pease recruited me, since he recruited my area but yeah, I don’t know whose idea it was to move me to Safety but they called me a couple weeks before I came up this Summer and asked how I’d feel about going out for Safety. I said I was happy to do it. They said it’d be the fastest way onto the field so I was all for it. (laughs)
DC- (laughing) Yeah, well you look at the safeties and cornerbacks that the Utes turn out in the NFL, and it really bares testament to your athletic abilities man. Im looking here at high school scouting reports. You were ranked 34th overall at QB in the country, #14 overall as a dual threat QB, and the #87 overall player in California. I mean that’s outstanding considering you also played Linebacker and set school punting records as well.
DC- With your grandpa being drafted by the Detroit Lions and your dad playing football in college, how early were you hooked on the game yourself?
BB- Probably since I was about 4 or 5. That’s when my older brother started playing, when he was about 7 or 8. I was always practicing with the team you know, since I liked to play.
DC- For sure. Over the first 4 games, and UNLV especially, you were a hitting highlight reel. Is that something you’ve always been good at or is that Coach (Morgan) Scalley’s style rubbing off on you?
BB- Um, it’s probably his coaching and style rubbing off on me. I mean he just teaches us to do our job every play and be consistent cuz if we’re in the right spot every play, every once in a while, a good opportunity comes around for a big hit or a pick or some kind of highlight and we just have to be ready to capitalize on it.
DC- Absolutely. Well, its definitely showing. Especially with that huge pick against Pitt. On that note, I interviewed Justin Taplin-Ross earlier this season and asked him this question so I’d feel bad not asking you. How many picks will you have this year?
BB- Um, (laughs) I hope…I don’t even know, (laughs) I don’t know what’s good or bad but, if I could get 5 I’d be happy. I guess the real goal would be not to have dropped picks.
DC- There ya go! (Laughs)
BB- I mean, last game I kinda dropped one but the receiver’s hand, he pulled my wrist down or I woulda had it.
DC- I know exactly the one! (laughs) me and every single person around me in the stands thought you had it. Believe me.
BB- Yeah one of his hands clamped my wrist so I was like “ah bummer.”
DC- Oh I know
BB- But the goal is no missed chances on interceptions like complete drops or something like that.
DC- Fair enough. Well if you can get 5 picks as big as the one you had vs Pitt, you are all set.
BB (laughs) Yeah
DC- Thanks again for your time. Enjoy the bye week and keep up the good work on “D”.
BB- Alright thanks man
That’s right, just graduated high school last year. Played QB, linebacker, and punted but was recruited as a safety. Blows through Summer and Fall camps, tearing through the depth chart to starting Strong Safety.
Watch out for Blechen and the rest of the Utes defense this season.