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Wrap up. Use your feet to drive from the ground. Hit with the shoulder, not the head.

Now that's how you tackle.

Brian Blechen's hit on Devin Funchess, called "textbook collision" by former UCLA coach and current analyst Rick Neuheisel, was a picture-perfect hit that knocked the ball out of the big-bodied receivers hands and brought him to the ground. The Pac-12 Networks named the tackle the USA Football Fundamental Play of the Week.

That film should be a part of Utah's textbook, too, coach Kyle Whittingham said. Blechen hasn't always been a form tackler, but he's come a long way.

"That's exactly the right way to do it," he said. "Three years ago Blechen would've been a little more reckless drawn a flag. Now he understands the rules exactly."

As it turns out, it will have some very real effect that happens to dip into one of Blechen's other passions: helping children.

An organization spokesman confirmed USA Football's nonprofit office will donate $4000 dollars to Ute Conference football, which runs youth valley football programs in the valley.

"That's pretty sweet. I didn't know that," Blechen said after Wednesday's practice. "That was the first I heard. Whether that gets them better equipment or let them play out on their field more, I'm sure the conference will put it to good use. That's awesome news. If they do that award every week, hopefully we'll get another four grand for them."

It so happened that a Ute Conference football team from West Jordan was visiting practice Wednesday afternoon, one of many teams that have cycled through the practice field in the past few weeks. Coach Brian York said his nine-year old athletes are just getting a taste for football, but there are a lot of costs involved, starting with a $250 admission fee.

Youth football can use the money, York said, and player interaction is just as important.

"It's good to have the kids come up, meet players and see what it takes," York said.

Blechen has dedicated time to young fans throughout his career, from reading to kids at schools to visiting kids in hospitals. It's easy for him to imagine himself in their shoes.

"It's just cool because as a kid, I knew who all the UCLA and USC players were," he said. "If I ever got to give them a high five or see them at all it was awesome, they were my heroes. Knowing now as Utah players, we're in those shoes now, it's awesome that we can hang out with them and put a smile on their faces. They could be here one day - that's cool."

Stopping the sacks • Washington State's defensive front didn't have any problem getting to dual-threat scrambler Marcus Mariota on Saturday.

While Oregon's junior quarterback did end up throwing five touchdowns, he had to take seven sacks as a trade-off for his big passing day.

Mike Leach isn't exactly known as an architect of hard-hitting defense, but Whittingham said to doubt the Cougars' ability on that side of the ball would be a mistake.

"Oregon has some new players on the edges, so they had a few guys out, some young kids battling and maybe making mistakes," he said. "But I think Washington State's defense is under the radar, I think it's the best defense Coach Leach has had there, and I've been saying that all week. They don't get enough credit."

The Utes would like to see Travis Wilson have an equally proficient performance through the air, but not take as many hits. Especially as Wilson comes off one of the nastiest shots of his career, keeping him safe is a huge priority.

On the season, the Cougars have 11 sacks in four games, putting them at No. 4 in the Pac-12 in that category. Linebacker Ivan McLennan and Tackle Xavier Cooper each lead the team with three apiece.

Orchard good to go • After a few reported sightings of Nate Orchard on campus wearing a boot, the senior defensive end was available to answer questions himself on Wednesday.

Notably, he was boot-less.

"Rumors are rumors," he said. "I'm out here practicing. Things are good."

Orchard said the defense has been running high on emotion since producing their first game without giving up an offensive touchdown. Michigan didn't once enter the red zone against Utah's defenders.

"It's good, it's good," he said. "You know as a defense, things are clicking, guys know their job, they're comfortable. It's fun. It makes football fun."

There is a nagging issue of a different nature for Orchard: that game last year when Utah struggled to put pressure on Wazzu quarterback Connor Halliday.

Whittingham said it's not necessary to sack Halliday to disrupt his game. The Utes will also try to mess with his timing, get hands in his face and make him feel generally uncomfortable in the pocket. But Orchard said would like to see the sack totals climb back up, like the six the Utes had against Washington State two years ago.

Interception 'monkey off our backs' • If Whittingham feels lighter, it's because he doesn't have one of the biggest worries of last season still on his shoulders.

The Utes now know they can intercept passes after getting three in the last game. Thank goodness, Whittingham said.

"If you keep working hard, the interceptions will occur," he said. "It was good to get, I guess you'd call it a breakout game. Hopefully it got the monkey off our back, and we can get a more regular flow of interceptions."

Cornerbacks coach Sharrieff Shah said while he encourages players to take the same mentality into every game and every play - that the turnovers will come - it's nice to get some positive reinforcement in the secondary.

"You always believe, 'When it comes my way, I will catch it,'" he said. "Confidence has been high. I would say it's been an infusion of excitement because you do all this work after practice, catching hundreds and hundreds of balls. When a few fall your way, it gives you at least some assurance that you're doing some things right."

Kyle Goonkgoon@sltrib.comTwitter: @kylegoon

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