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Commentary: Utah may have come upon a famine of defensive backs

Published: Sunday, Aug. 4 2013 2:48 p.m. MDT

Safeties: Eric Rowe, Tevin Carter, Tyron Morris-Edwards Next » 1 of 4 « Prev
Not that this was a good thing, but Rowe was second on the team with 64 tackles last season.

The junior free safety has told the Deseret News’ Dirk Facer that Utah’s safeties are as good as any in the Pac-12.

“We can compete with anybody,” he said. “We’ve got athletes in the backfield and we’re ready.”

Rowe reportedly told Facer as much because he was motivated by the physical improvement seen in his colleagues between the Utes’ season-ending win over Colorado and spring camp.

The Utes return all five players who made starts last season, headlined by Rowe (6-foot-1, 205 pounds), who looks to become Utah’s best safety since the program boasted Eric Weddle, a 2006 consensus All-American and two-time conference defensive player of the year. Both were freshman All-Americans. Rowe even manned two safety spots prior to that 2011 season and was an All Pac-12 honorable mention honoree last year.

Rowe may also receive some playing time at strong safety, which he has experienced in his first two seasons.

Carter and Morris-Edwards are fighting for the lion’s share of time at strong safety.

Carter (6-1, 213) originally signed with Cal in 2010 after being named a four-star receiver by Rivals.com and Scout.com out of Santee High (Calif.). He instead transferred to Los Angeles Southwest College reportedly due to academic problems.

Because of Carter’s immense athletic ability, it’s probably no surprise that he was a 2011 and 2012 first-team all-conference safety and the team’s leading defender last season, with 62 tackles and three interceptions.

A local player (Alta High) and former walk-on, Morris-Edwards (6-1, 200) is now seeking to transition his two starts last season (BYU, UCLA) into something greater this fall. (It’s not his only transition — he came to Utah as a receiver.) The junior played in nine total games last season, recording half of his season’s tackles with eight in that win over the Cougars. Utah coach Kyle Whittingham was complementary of Morris-Edwards’ spring.

Whittingham stated early in spring ball that Carter would need to perform for Blechen to stay at linebacker. Reports of Carter meeting the challenge and of Morris-Edwards’ impressive spring means that defensive coordinator Kalani Sitake should be expected to start one of them opposite Rowe, keeping Blechen at his more uncustomary position. Blechen has made five career starts at linebacker — four in 2011 and another last season.
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BYUalum
South Jordan, UT

Refreshing news!

Go Cougars!

Hailstorm is a coming
Riverdale, UT

Doesn't look good as the Pac-12 QB's will be delighted to throw over the top of these D-Backs.
One point that really frosts my cookies is that Morgan Scalley-- recruiting coordinator has yet to recruit a decent place kicker. Sakoda won a lot of games for us with his toe and asking a walk on to do the most pressurized job just doesn't cut it for me.
We need a quality special team place kicker EVERY SEASON !

wwookie
Payson, UT

Blechen is a beast and can't wait to see him on the field in a few weeks.

The story about Chappuis is pretty sad, this kid was going to be great. Hope he can fully recover.

utefan87
salt lake city, UT

Does this make it 4 years in a row now that they've move Brian Blechen to Linebacker? I give it 2 games until they move him back again.

BigCougar
Bountiful, UT

@utefan87
"Does this make it 4 years in a row now that they've move Brian Blechen to Linebacker? I give it 2 games until they move him back again."

How many games until he falls apart like last year? He was an NFL talent that is slowly killing his prospects through not excelling at either position (critics call him a tweener), getting moved back and forth, having off the field issues, etc. It would be sad if he blows it completely.

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