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SALT LAKE CITY — The University of Utah football program announced the suspension of starting safety Brian Blechen Monday afternoon.
Blechen has been suspended for the first three games of the upcoming season, which includes the games against Northern Colorado (Aug. 30), Utah State (Sept. 7) and BYU (Sept. 15). The exact reason for the suspension was not released, but Senior Associate Athletics Director Liz Abel said there was a "violation of team rules."
Junior Quade Chappuis and sophomores Eric Rowe, Tyron Morris-Edwards and Terrell Reese will be called on to fill Blechen's absence.
Blechen's suspension will likely be most felt during his last week of suspension when the rival Cougars come to Salt Lake. Blechen will return, however, for the first game of Pac-12 play, when the Utes travel to Arizona to take on the Arizona State Sun Devils.
The Utes begin fall camp Thursday. Abel said Blechen will not be restricted from participating in team practices or activities while serving his suspension.
Last season, Blechen was named an honorable mention all-Pac-12 player, spending time as both linebacker and safety. Blechen was a defensive presence last season, with 78 tackles and two sacks. He was tied for eighth in the Pac-12 in interceptions (3) and fifth in the Pac-12 in forced fumbles (3).