Utah preparing contingencies if LB Brian Blechen is unavailable

Brian Blechen_130816_Wide

The plan at Utah is to finalize the depth chart Saturday, giving head coach Kyle Whittingham 11 days to "know the guys who we are sinking our reps into," as he told the Salt Lake Tribune, before the season opener against Utah State.

However, the hard deadline could result in Utes defensive stalwart Brian Blechen not being included in the team's plans this season. Blechen has been limited by knee problems and Whittingham is prepared to "move past him."

"We have to. There is no other way, no other alternative," Whittingham said.

Blechen has started 35 games over the last three seasons, mostly at safety. He has eight career interceptions, earning Freshman All-America recognition in 2010 and All-Pac-12 honorable mention the last two seasons.

Blechen was expected to start at outside linebacker this season, with Trevor Reilly (eight starts at outside linebacker last season) and Jason Whittingham (six starts at middle linebacker) now at defensive end. Blechen could take a redshirt and return for 2014.

Compounding matters, junior-college transfer Tevin Carter, who was expected to take over Blechen's spot in the secondary, will not play this season because of academics.

Follow Dan Greenspan on Twitter @DanGreenspan.

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