SALT LAKE CITY — Russ Reilly says his wife Kris has a good solution to their divided household when it comes to Saturday’s rivalry game between BYU and Utah at LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo.
“She says she’s going to be rooting for the defense,” he said.
And with good reason.
Russ and Kris are the parents of Utah defensive end/linebacker Trevor Reilly and BYU safety Drew Reilly.
“It’s actually a miserable situation for them,” Drew said. “As far as me and Trevor go, we’re super excited for the chance to play against each other. It might never happen again. But the way my parents see it, after the end of the game one of us will lose and be miserable. My parents have a tough time knowing that.”
Saturday's game will mark Drew's debut with the Cougars. The sophomore, a transfer from Colorado State, suffered a torn meniscus in his knee on the final day of camp in August and immediately underwent surgery to repair the damage. He’s been motivated to return for the Utah game, although his father felt differently.
“My dad said, ‘The best thing that could happen is that you don’t play. If for some reason you had to wait another week, that would be the easiest thing for us.’ But I’m hoping that doesn’t happen,” said Drew, who expects to have a role on special teams and is hopeful to get a couple of reps on defense as well. “We’ll see what happens. Even to have one run down the field, that would be good for me at this point.”
Trevor, meanwhile, is a senior team captain and an integral part of Utah’s defense.
“It’s a little awkward. I’m Trevor’s biggest fan as far as defense goes. I want him to do great,” Drew said. “He’s had a good year and this is his year to tear it up and go to the NFL. Obviously he can’t really do that against us. But there’s tackles to be made, so I’d love it if he had 10, 13 tackles but limited TFLs, no sacks, no hurries.”
The brothers are close. They get together at least once a week to hang out, play golf, and watch movies or television. Trevor doesn’t hesitate to point out that “blood is thicker than jersey colors.”
That was never more evident than when Drew decided to transfer from CSU after one season (where he started four games) following an LDS Church mission to Texas. Trevor and his wife Jessica picked Drew up at the airport and drove him to Provo to visit with BYU coaches and check things out in the spring of 2012.
Trevor waited in the car.
“I got out for a little bit and sat on a bench and then walked around,” he said.
Jessica and oldest daughter Nelli were among the family members who accompanied Drew on the visit. Jessica, a die-hard Utah loyalist, acknowledged it wasn’t easy.
“But I’ll do anything for Drew — even go into the BYU office,” she said, adding that it helped when assistant coach Lance Reynolds told her that they made a mistake not offering Trevor a scholarship several years earlier.
Drew liked what he saw and heard and decided to sign with the Cougars. Being close to family like Trevor, Jessica and their kids was also a big factor, as was easing travel for the Reilly parents in Valley Center, Calif.
Trevor’s response to Drew opting to wear blue?
“He was like, ‘Well, that’s probably the worst decision you’ll ever make,’” Drew joked. “No, he was real supportive after that.”
“I think he could have played here at Utah,” Trevor said. “But circumstances worked out where BYU gave him a scholarship for the spring, he met his future wife down there, and so I think it all worked out.”
Drew and his fiance Ashlyn will be married Nov. 2 at the Mount Timpanogos LDS Temple in American Fork.
While sitting out last season because of NCAA transfer rules, Drew played the role of Trevor on BYU’s scout team in preparation for the Utah game. A year earlier, Trevor earned Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week honors by recording three forced fumbles, three tackles for loss, two sacks, a fumble recovery and a pass breakup in the Utes’ 54-10 win over the Cougars in Provo.
“That week was real awkward for me, super awkward,” Drew said of his scout team representation. “He single-handedly almost tore our team up the year before, so that was pretty uncomfortable for that period of time.”
Now comes a head-to-head meeting — at least when it comes to teams — this weekend.
“I’ve never played against my brother like that so it’ll be real weird,” Trevor said.
Added Drew: “Take all the tackles, but leave everything else.”
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