Utah Utes football notebook: Brian Blechen stung by a bee on opening day of camp
SALT LAKE CITY — Utah coach Kyle Whittingham has seen a lot of things in his extensive coaching career. However, on Thursday, something new happened — and it caused quite a buzz on the opening day of camp.
Sophomore linebacker Brian Blechen had a bee fly into his mouth early in practice and was stung as he swallowed it.
"It got him in the throat," Whittingham said. "It started to swell so we had to get him to the hospital. But he should be OK."
The bizarre injury, Whittingham added, was something new.
"Every year is a new adventure," he said. "That's a first."
Defensive coordinator Kalani Sitake also noted that Blechen is going to be fine.
"I wish the bee wouldn't have got him, but I guess everything happens for a reason. We'll just have to wait and see," Sitake said. "The good thing is it got other guys some reps. Blechen knows his stuff. But it would have been nice to have him here because I think he makes us that much better."
WHIT'S PLAYLIST: The Utes practiced with music blaring on speakers around the field. Whittingham chose the tunes, his favorites — all pre-Y2K classic rock stuff.
Whittingham said the music helps create a game-day environment.
"You don't play when it's quiet," he explained. "So we want to have that going on."
It'll be an every day thing in camp and perhaps the regular season.
While acknowledging it keeps things a little more lively, Whittingham said the intent is to be able to think, focus and react when there's distractions. The coaching staff decided to try it to better replicate game-day environments with background noise.
Whittingham jokingly added that he hoped that his choice of music would irritate the players, get them in a bad mood and make them work harder.
"It kind of faded out after a while," Sitake observed. "The only thing you've got to worry about is coach (Morgan) Scalley dancing if it's a cheesy song that he loves."
SCHOOL FIRST: Highly touted offensive lineman Tony Bergstrom missed practice to take a final. The senior is a chemical engineering major.
"That's the thing about opening up on a Thursday. You push the opening of your camp a little bit earlier and it runs into the end of summer school," Whittingham said. "So we've had to live with some guys missing practice today. There will be some guys missing the lift tonight and tomorrow as well. But by Saturday, all that should be settled down and we should have everyone here 100 percent of the time."
EXTRA POINTS: Wide receiver Anthony Denham, a junior college transfer, injured his hamstring. His status was not immediately known. "That was one of the major downers of the day," Whittingham said. "We'll have to go in and get it re-evaluated and see how long the downtime will be." . . . Sophomore safety Chris Washington is not on the 105-man camp roster because of a shoulder issue. He'll rejoin the team after the injury has time to heal . .. . Whittingham said offensive lineman Po'u Palelei, a junior college signee working on academic requirements, is a "50/50 proposition" to join the team.
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