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Former BYU, Utah football players have mixed views on rivalry hiatus

Published: Tuesday, July 10 2012 10:26 p.m. MDT

Brigham Young University quarterback John Beck gets under center during practice in Las Vegas Dec 19, 2006 to prepare for the Las Vegas Bowl . Jeffrey D. Allred/photo

Jeffrey D. Allred, All

A hiatus — a real-life timeout — is now scheduled in the BYU-Utah football rivalry?

Reaction from players who donated some blood and sweat in those games are varied.

Heisman Trophy winner Ty Detmer, now living in Austin, Texas, said it is unfortunate to stop a bit of history that has been so entertaining.

"While I understand it may be tough logistically, I'm disappointed to see they won't be playing in 2014 and 2015," said Detmer. "I think it has been a fun rivalry for the state as well as some families and will be missed."

Current Houston Texans' quarterback John Beck, another former Cougar standout signal-caller, said he was taken by surprise by the move.

"I had no idea they did that," said Beck. "This is the first I have heard of it. I think it's a rivalry that is the best in the region and if it's not there the fans will be missing out. It has been a long-lasting rivalry that should continue and the schools should do whatever they can to keep it going."

Former BYU linebacker Cameron Jensen was likewise surprised and disappointed.

"I'm disappointed in the news. My first thoughts were for the players that won't have the experience of playing in such a great rivalry game. For fans that won't get to experience all the great games and plays that would have taken place. Growing up in the state and being around the rivalry it's very disappointing."

Former Utah wide receiver Brent Casteel doesn't think it should be anything to be upset about.

"I'm not upset about it at all, really," said Casteel. "I think taking BYU off the schedule and putting Michigan on there just shows you where the Utes are and with the competition you want to play better teams. We want to play great teams. How else do you get up in the rankings? How else do you get national exposure other than beating great teams like Michigan?"

Casteel went on to say that as a Pac-12 team, Utah is supposed to beat an independent like BYU. In his view, beating someone like Michigan is a better deal in terms of growth for the program and playing with the big teams.

"Michigan is one of those big teams that we would want to play," he said. "So I'm not really too concerned, or upset, or really bothered about losing BYU.

"Obviously, I love being part of that tradition and being able to be a part of that rivalry, but times change, people change. Now that we're a part of the Pac-12, I'm looking forward to the new rivalries that we're going to build with the Pac-12 teams like the USCs and the Colorados and teams like that. So it's not too big of a deal for me to lose playing BYU for two years."

Casteel noted that the break may actually ramp things up for when BYU and Utah meet in 2016.

He may be right.

Contributing: Dirk Facer

email: dharmon@desnews.com

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