SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 Sports) - Three days before the Utes open up fall camp, head coach Kyle Whittingham announced that junior Brian Blechen has been suspended for the first three games of the season due to a violation of team rules.
The 6-foot-2, 218-pound safety will miss the August 30 opener against Northern Colorado, the September 7 game at Utah State and the rivalry game against BYU on September 15.
Blechen will participate in practices throughout his suspension.
Blechen, who was an honorable mention All-Pac 12 player last season, has developed into one of the team's biggest playmakers on defense. He signed with the Utes as a quarterback but was quickly moved to strong safety and played the first four games of 2011 at linebacker.
He finished his sophomore season with 78 tackles, three interceptions and three forced fumbles. Blechen's most memorable play came in his first collegiate game when he intercepted a pass in overtime against Pitt, helping set up the game-winning field goal. He finished 2010 with four interceptions.
Former Lone Peak High School standout Quade Chappuis is expected to fill the safety void while Blechen sits out.