Utah Utes football: Walk-on linebacker Afa Bridenstine dismissed from Utah football team


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  • Duckhunter Highland, UT
    Jan. 11, 2013 9:47 a.m.


    I'll give you that, you aren't naval vet. So what did blechen do at practice then? Did he just ride an excercise bike? That isn't what was reported. I understand they had to give reps to the guys filling in for him but that doesn't mean he wasn't practicing in full. Regardless he was not punished by the football program in any way. It was a university mandated punishment.

    Jan. 11, 2013 12:05 a.m.

    Duckhunter, don't know if you noticed, but I'm not naval vet. And like I said before, just because a player is allowed to practice while under disciplinary action, doesn't mean he is a full practice participant, and those are things the media does not have access to or is able to comment on. I'm going to leave it at that.

  • Duckhunter Highland, UT
    Jan. 10, 2013 9:11 a.m.


    So what punishments did the team put on blechen? As naval vet is so fond of telling us "If there is no certified published article about it then it didn't happen." So please tell us what the team did to blechen because there are no "ceritifed published articles" other than those telling us he was a full participant in practies during his university, not football team, mandated suspension from the games.

    Also you seem to be more than just a little bit "frantic and emotional" about this. Why?

    Jan. 9, 2013 6:52 p.m.

    Duckhunter, simply being allowed to practice does not mean the team didn't impose any of its own discipline on him, or that he actually was a full practice participant. The team handles nearly all of its team rules violations internally, pretty much the same as any other program. Virtually the only times they get reported is when it involves a player's gameplay status. You either already know this and just want to blow it out of proportion, or you are not really as intimate with the workings of a college football program as you let on to be.

  • LOTR Baltimore, MD
    Jan. 9, 2013 3:16 p.m.


    "This shouldn't even be a story. This former player is a person and a walkon that would never have his name in the mud if it wasn't for the media...."

    You're welcome to live in your own little fantasy world if you like, but that completely ignores the reality that EVERY player who becomes associated with a major college football program, be it starter, walkon, or recruit, is immediately thrust into the public spotlight.

    The fact that this player was kicked off Utah's football team is newsworthy, regardless of how much that embarrasses U or anybody else associated with Utah football.

  • Utah Fan2 Anaheim, CA
    Jan. 9, 2013 11:03 a.m.


    Actually, you're more likely to get scarves and sweaters from knitting.

  • ute4ever West Jordan, UT
    Jan. 9, 2013 10:55 a.m.

    @truth machine: You are one of them for blowing this WAY, WAY out of proportion. This newspaper is another. This shouldn't even be a story. This former player is a person and a walkon that would never have his name in the mud if it wasn't for the media....and furthered by the supposed controversy that is trying to be made here by BYU fans. Everyone should just leave the kid alone and wish him well, hoping he can get his life on track and recover from this thing that will forever alter his life.

    @duckhunter: so far I've seen references to Nai Fotu, this kid, and Blechen. Nai had a DUI. This kid had a DUI. Blechen smoked drugs. You BYU fans can't keep your comparisons straight. Utah played by the predetermined rules for a 2nd offender of drug use. Blechen was suspended from games for 1/4 the season. If YOU think he shouldn't have practiced....that is your problem but that isn't the University or Team policy that was established BEFORE his incident. Keep trying to twist it. Hypoctrites.

  • joseywales Park City, UT
    Jan. 9, 2013 10:46 a.m.

    ducky- when I reap what I "sew" I get scarves or sweaters. When I reap what I "sow" I get a garden. What about you? You are "so" smart.

  • Truth Machine Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 9, 2013 9:57 a.m.


    "BYU fans are killing the kid, the program, the coach."

    Cite one example of a BYU fan who is "killing the kid".

    Otherwise, stop making things up.

  • Duckhunter Highland, UT
    Jan. 9, 2013 9:53 a.m.


    "Sounds a little different than a regular DUI that you are trying to compare it to."

    Do you even read things before you comment? I never tried to compare this to any other dui, don't even know what you're talking about. Also the articles here in the paper tell us his age, I didn't "google" anything. It really might help your cause to actually read stuff before you make comments about them.


  • Duckhunter Highland, UT
    Jan. 9, 2013 9:11 a.m.


    "What's your "source" for this nugget?"

    Uh.....the local papers and news. You see it was reported in all of them that blechen was allowed to practice in full during his university, not football team, mandated game suspensions. They even ran stories on how he was qb for the scout team during that time and how much he was helping the team.

    I love you utah "fans" with your little "proof, link, evidence" cries every time you don't know something yourselves. Of course none of you ever post any "proof, links, evidence" either but that's different I suppose.


  • ute4ever West Jordan, UT
    Jan. 9, 2013 9:06 a.m.

    @ Duckhunter

    I'm glad you have done enough research to "know" the kid by knowing his age. I guess you really are qualified to hand down punishment based on your google search of this kid's age. I didn't know his age. I assumed he was young because he was a walkon freshman that had never played. That doesn't scream 24 year old, unless you are BYU I guess.

    BYU fans are killing the kid, the program, the coach. We can try to do all the google searches possible to find out the similarities and the differences between 2 situations, but this kid is a walkon with questionable ability to be on the team in the first place. Next he goes and has some kind of DUI road rage incident where someone is left unconcious in a parking lot. Sounds a little different than a regular DUI that you are trying to compare it to. I don't know specifics, and you don't either.

    Lets all stop pretending this needs to be tried in the court of fans opinions.

  • Utah'95 FPO, AE
    Jan. 9, 2013 4:02 a.m.

    You guys disappoint me.

  • OCoug Ogden, UT
    Jan. 8, 2013 11:06 p.m.

    Wow, you all have a ton of time on your hands. Stats here, stats there. In the end it comes down to doing what's best for each individual regardless of where they play football. The whole story is sad, hopefully Afa can turn things around.

    Jan. 8, 2013 7:42 p.m.

    Duckhunter: "in fact he was allowed to practice in full the entire time he was kept by university policy from playing in the games."

    What's your "source" for this nugget? Not receiving a gameplay suspension is not the same thing as having no disciplinary action. I know you "know people," but I know people, too, and know that this is not the way the program is run.

  • Duckhunter Highland, UT
    Jan. 8, 2013 6:01 p.m.

    Blechen didn't get any dui's from my understanding. What he did was fail to drug tests and is a dope smoker. The criticism about his "punishment" is that he wasn't punished at all when he failed the 1st drug test and the punishment he received for the 2nd failure was not done by whittingham, it was a university mandated punishment from an internal policy that requires it. whittingham and the football program did not punish blechen at all, in fact he was allowed to practice in full the entire time he was kept by university policy from playing in the games.

    Now in my opinion I would say a dui and an assault that left a person unconcious are more serious than the failed drug tests blechen had. I'm not even saying that blechen got off easy. But it is interesting that whittingham and the football program did not punish blechen at all for his failed tests. If whittingham had done something after the first failed test then I might think differently but the fact he did nothing is sure an interesting fact.

    Jan. 8, 2013 5:10 p.m.

    Ufan, it would also be nice if people stopped making up stories about what Blechen was suspended for. Two DUI convictions would most certainly get a player kicked off the team. He didn't have a single DUI.

  • backpacn Sandy, UT
    Jan. 8, 2013 5:03 p.m.


    Who made you blog monitor?

  • Ufan Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 8, 2013 4:58 p.m.

    It would be nice if Utah would explain why the punishment for Afa was so harsh compared to the punishment Utah gave to Blechen - it seems that two DUI offenses should be considered every bit as serious as one assault and one DUI.

    A 2nd DUI conviction in Utah requires

    Jail – 240 Hours Minimum, or Work Service Program - 240 Hours Minimum or Home Confinement
    Fine - $800 Minimum
    License Suspension – 2 Years

    Sounds like the state considers it a pretty serious offense.

    Jan. 8, 2013 4:39 p.m.

    phoenix: "If you have additional information to share about Blechen"

    Umm I do. He didn't have 2 DUIs, he had 2 failed program mandated drug tests over the course of his 3 years on the team. He was never in any legal trouble, the team imposed its own predetermined discipline for the situation on him. Whether you think that is weak is for you to decide, but in that case the majority of the nation is pretty weak on it because many schools, like Oregon, have never had institutional drug testing, and others, like LSU with Tyrann Mathieu, have let players fail up to 7 before exacting a zero-tolerance policy. What is really pathetic is fans who cross over from sensationalizing one's misdeeds to just plain making things up, like Blechen having DUI charges, or Ernest T. Bass saying Van Noy had two DUI charges and questioning his high school graduation. If you don't know, seriously just keep your mouth shut about it.

  • phoenix Gilbert, AZ
    Jan. 8, 2013 3:20 p.m.


    If you have additional information to share about Blechen and/or Afa, feel free to share.

    Otherwise, we'd love to hear your explanation why Whittingham kicked a bench warmer off the team for a fight and a DUI, while Kyle only gave his starting LB a 3-game suspension for two DUIs?

    As Duckhunter said, nobody is throwing the "kids" under the bus, but the seemingly inconsistent actions of Utah's football program demand an explanation.

  • 54-10 Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 8, 2013 3:20 p.m.

    Whether the player plays at BYU, Utah, Utah State or wherever, no one on this baord knows the facts or anything else about any of these situations. Nor is every BYU or Utah fan a "hypocrite". Everyone needs to relax and let the caoch at each school take care of his players.

  • Ernest T. Bass Bountiful, UT
    Jan. 8, 2013 3:03 p.m.

    There is a LB in this state that had two DUIs before "graduating" from high school.

  • Duckhunter Highland, UT
    Jan. 8, 2013 2:54 p.m.


    1st of all the "kid" is 24, not 18. That's an adult not a kid so perhaps it is you that actually doesn't KNOW the "kid" or the situation?

    2nd of all no one is "killing the kid" we are criticizing the program far more. The "kid" did what he did but it is the inconsistency of the punishments, in some cases no real punishments at all, handed out by your coach and program that we are criticizing more than anything else.

    Pretty weak, although predictable on the part of a utah "fan", to try and distort it and make it sound as if meanie BYU fans are "killing a kid".

    Also BYU fans are for the most part the same as utah "fans". In otherwords MORMONS. The majority of both fanbases are LDS. Why do you think that just because one LDS person has decided to be a fan of the sports at BYU that he/she should be held to a higher standard than the LDS that decided to be a fan of sports at utah?

    You see that is the hypocrisy and it comes from the "fans" of the team in slc.

  • skywalker Palo Alto, CA
    Jan. 8, 2013 2:38 p.m.


    There may be more to both stories than is being reported, but giving a starter a relative slap on the wrist while kicking a bench warmer off the team for similar offenses, SCREAMS inconsistency on the part of Whittingham.

    It's the duty of fans and concerned obvservers to question such seemingly blatant inconsistencies. Who do you think you're protecting by scolding people for "making judgements", the players, or Utah's football program?

  • ute4ever West Jordan, UT
    Jan. 8, 2013 1:52 p.m.

    @ phantomblade: BC did pass judgement when he said "talk about hypocritical" then pointed the difference in the two situations.

    @ duckhunter: I don't care which fanbase these types of comments come from, they are unacceptable. Personally I don't see why this should be anyone elses business. If it were a high profile player maybe, but a news story on a walkon who has never and will likely never play? This is poor, poor judgement to run this article. I call BYU fans hypocritical because they preach to each other on Sunday's about forgiveness and then come on these commnet boards on Monday to kill an 18 year old they don't know who made a mistake. No one knows anything about this incident on here, so back off.

    @sportsguy: who is sweeping this under the rug? He got kicked off the team. Fotu (who wasn't a starter for all of you trying to paint a different picture) was suspended. YOU DON'T KNOW the whys of either situation, so for you to pass judgement on which program handled things right is just plain wrong.

  • Uteanymous Salt Lake City, Utah
    Jan. 8, 2013 1:54 p.m.


    You owe Bronco and KVN an apology.

    KVN was forced to wait an entire year before joining the BYU football team because of his DUI.

  • TrueBlue Orem, UT
    Jan. 8, 2013 1:47 p.m.


    "Yes BYU holds their players very accountable. Just like Kyle Van Noy who got a DUI and didn't miss a single game of his career."

    Next time check your facts, before spouting off.

    Because of the DUI, which occurred before KVN even came to BYU, Mendenhall forced KVN to wait an entire year after graduating from HS before he was allowed to enroll at BYU and join the football team.

    AN ENTIRE YEAR for a 1st offense versus a 3-non-conference game suspension for a repeat offender.

  • sportyguy sandy, UT
    Jan. 8, 2013 1:13 p.m.

    Yes BYU holds their players very accountable. Just like Kyle Van Noy who got a DUI and didn't miss a single game of his career.

    Add to that KVN was under aged when he got his DUI. But you're right suspending a guy and kicking a player off the team are much less harsh than sweeping the entire incident under the rug and letting the kid play his entire career.

  • phantomblade Salt Lake City, Utah
    Jan. 8, 2013 12:49 p.m.


    Pot calling the kettle black

    BYU "troll" responses on this article pale in comparison to the Utah "troll" responses to any similar happening at BYU

    Despite the whining from the oh-so-easily-offended hill dwellers, BC didn't make any sort of "judgement", he simply cited the differences between Whittingham's response to both situations

    If Utah fans are uncomfortable addressing those differences, that's not BC's problem, that's yours.

    btw, VegasUte - DUI's are treated harshly, not necessarily because of the actual end result, but because of the potential for an even more serious result

    Afa left somebody unconcious. Blechen could have killed somebody, on at least two separate occassions!

  • VegasUte Las Vegas, NV
    Jan. 8, 2013 11:30 a.m.

    Typical - the Utah County trollers come out in DROVES to kick at the kid who is down. Sorry state of affairs down south if this is the only thing that gets you excited about football. We all know you have nothing to be excited about for the future - horrible recruiting class, coaching turmoil, still "irrelevant".

    BC - did you miss the part in the article where it said the man he was fighting was left unconscious? Of course not! It was not simply "a fight", but why let the facts get in the way of your hatred for the U? Southies have a thing for ignoring facts.

    I wish Afa well and hope that he betters himself and his life as a result of his mistakes. I hope he takes a page out of Nai Fotu's book and surrounds himself with positive people who will help him straighten out his life.

  • Duckhunter Highland, UT
    Jan. 8, 2013 11:02 a.m.


    Go back and read the utah "fan" comments on the articles about Stout and Sampson getting kicked off the BYU team because of the fight they got in a couple of months ago. You reap what you sew.

  • ute4ever West Jordan, UT
    Jan. 8, 2013 10:37 a.m.


    Thank you for proving my comment correct. You think you know 2 of the details of the situation and so you are justified on passing judgement on the player, the coach, and the university. No 2 situations are the same, and you DO NOT (despite your insistance that you are an expert because you read the newspaper every day) know the hows, the whens, the whys, etc. If you knew these coaches I'm sure you would find out that they aren't out there with the sole purpose of winning football games. That is the biggest goal, but they are in college and do what they do because they enjoy helping steer the lives of these people.

    Honestly, I'm not even sure why this is a story. This kid made a stupid, stupid mistake and he likely regrets it. Does anyone REALLY care that a walkon that would never play got dimissed from the team? No. But now every BYU fan can get on boards like this and trash the kid, the coaches, and everyone else so they can feel better about themselves and BYU. It's sad you get your jollies from this. I wish the kid well.

  • motorbike Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Jan. 8, 2013 9:51 a.m.

    B C

    You just proved the point several of us were trying to help you with ... by comparing one kid's problem to another kids problem you left some of the details out. The "bench warmer" didn't just get into a fight, he also had a DUI.
    Care to come back online and apologize now? No situation is the same and none of us are privy to all the details and behind the scene activities that help coaches decide how to proceed with the player. This is exactly why you and others need to reserve judgment.
    This goes equally for Utah fans that feel the need to do the same thing when BYU kids make mistakes.

  • B C Park City, UT
    Jan. 8, 2013 9:11 a.m.


    Talk about hypocritical...

    how about a coach who only gives his starter a slap on the wrist for his 2nd DUI, while suspending a bench warmer for getting into a fight?

  • ute4ever West Jordan, UT
    Jan. 8, 2013 8:32 a.m.

    You BYU fans are so hypocritical. Preach and teach forgiveness and tolerance but crucify a kid (freshman, so he's probably 18 years old) for a mistake and make sure he "pays the price" set by a bunch of posters on a the newspaper article. How about the fact that Nai Fotu (who was referred to previously) being allowed back onto the team could have possibly saved his life. Instead of being a person who was kicked out of football with nothing to do except get into trouble, he was a guy allowed to play football again after following certain rules to get back onto the field. He was around good people with good goals and...who knows...maybe that gave him a second chance in life, not just football. You guys should remember that these coaches DO care about the kids too in addition to wins and losses.

    Maybe we should all be a little less critical in these instances and give these kids another shot to live up to their potential instead of impose our uninformed penalties and crucify them in the public eye.....all without knowing most of the details. Spare us all.

  • pocyUte Pocatello, ID
    Jan. 7, 2013 9:42 p.m.


    No teenager/young adult should ever be given a second chance, period.

    All of us are just lucky enough to either have never been caught, be in the spotlight, or be this egregious. Obviously there is accountability, but good grief, some of the comments on this board are off the charts.

  • motorbike Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Jan. 7, 2013 8:20 p.m.

    Do you cougar fans honestly want us to start throwing out names?
    Spare us the holier than thou routine so we don't have to have another thread of this story compared to that story, etc. Quite frankly it seems BYU has had a lot more issues of this nature than Utah has in the past 10 years and most of them get swept under the rug as best they can UNLESS the media gets a hold of them and forces Bronco's hand.
    So again, please don't go begging for examples, player names from either school don't need to get dragged through the mud and every situation is unique and has circumstances that the mainstream public doesn't always know about.

  • Duckhunter Highland, UT
    Jan. 7, 2013 7:58 p.m.


    "this will have a minimal effect on the team's production because Afa never saw the field, and he wasn't about to anytime soon."

    Which tells us two things. One is he probably really is gone for good since he didn't matter as a player. Two is that utah "fans" definately have their priorities straight.

  • Two For Flinching Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 7, 2013 7:38 p.m.

    Another classy comment. No, Nia Fotu was suspended indefinitely and worked his way back onto the field after meeting certain requirements set by Whittingham.

    Either way, this will have a minimal effect on the team's production because Afa never saw the field, and he wasn't about to anytime soon.

  • Sports Are Great Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 7, 2013 7:35 p.m.

    Trevvor - Agreed. For as much as I don't like Bronco as our football coach, the guy truly holds kids responsible, instead of hiding behind the LAME excuse cop-out of "Give the kid another chance"

    Giving someone a second chance and not holding someone accountable for their decisions are two separate things. Similarly, I would have been disappointed in Bronco if he had let Sampson and Stout back after one game. Even Van Noy had trouble, and Bronco made him wait a WHOLE YEAR to join the team.

  • Trevvor Sandy, UT
    Jan. 7, 2013 7:23 p.m.

    Wasn't the Ute who got a DUI a couple of years ago "dismissed immediately" from the team when it happened? Ya know, the one who only missed a single game, against a Division III opponent nonethless?

    I expect to see the kid back by game 2, if he's needed.