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Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
Utah Utes linebacker Brian Blechen (4) gets called for a facemask on Oregon State Beavers wide receiver Brandin Cooks (13) during PAC12 action in Salt Lake City Saturday, Oct. 29, 2011.

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah football coach Kyle Whittingham announced that starting safety Brian Blechen has been suspended for the first three games of the season for an undisclosed violation of team rules. The junior will, however, be allowed to practice with the team.

The suspension will keep Blechen, who has started all 26 games of his career at Utah, out of contests against Northern Colorado, Utah State and BYU. He's slated to return to action Sept. 22 at Arizona State.

Blechen has been a stalwart on the Utah defense, making 145 tackles and seven interceptions over two seasons. He was a Freshman All-American in 2010 and an honorable mention Pac-12 all-conference selection in 2011.

The Utes report for camp on Wednesday and begin practices on Thursday.

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