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Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Matt Bellini Talks About Brigham Young Cougars' Independence

As a running back for the Brigham Young Cougars, Matt Bellini covered a lot of real estate catching passes out of the backfield. He would dodge the grasp of defenders as he tried to pick up first downs and touchdowns.

Real estate and the grasp of others are still a large part of Bellini’s life. As a successful Salt Lake real estate agent, he facilitates the sale of property. As a father of three girls, he gladly surrenders to their grasp to pick up hugs and kisses. His daughters and real estate dealings keep him pretty busy, but the former All-American estimates he is able to watch about half of the BYU football games each year. While he doesn’t follow his former team as closely as some former players do, Bellini admits he is still interested in BYU football and pays attention to what is happening.

Bellini is well aware that BYU is now independent in football, which is something he has mixed feelings about.

“I think it is a really good opportunity to improve as the national spotlight goes, but I wonder how the rivalries, or playing the same teams every year, will affect attendance,” Bellini explained. “I would like to see them in a conference if they were in a conference that was competitive on a national level.”

Given the current set up of college football, he thinks BYU is doing the best it can by moving to independent status. He also likes the progressive mind set of BYU.

With independence, BYU has much more flexibility in the scheduling department. This has led to BYU scheduling neutral site games with TCU this year and West Virginia in 2016. Back in Bellini’s freshman season (1987), BYU played a neutral site game … in Australia. He had a great time on the trip, describing it as “almost like having a second bowl game.” He didn’t play too bad, either, gaining 109 total yards and scoring 2 touchdowns in a 30-26 win over Colorado State.

As great as that experience was, Bellini says BYU should be very careful about scheduling any international games, especially those that would cross several time zones. With the jet lag, it can take up to a week for players' bodies to adjust. If BYU did it at all, then it should be done as the last game of the season.

Another hot independence topic has been how well BYU football is known nationally. Bellini did spend some time selling homes in Nebraska. While most of the focus in Nebraska is on Big XII and Big 10 football, Bellini feels BYU is a well respected program nationally.

“I don’t think there is any question about it,” he stated.

Bellini attributes this national recognition to BYU’s decades of success. During his playing days in the late 1980s people still gave them “a lot of flack about who we were and who we had played.” Now, he feels BYU is respected everywhere.

When asked about new offensive coordinator Brandon Doman’s comments that he sees J.J. Di Luigi being a Matt Bellini-type back, the Real McCoy responded, “Is that a compliment? I hope so.” He describes a Matt Belini-type back as someone who does a little bit of everything: blocking, carrying the ball, and catching passes out of the backfield.

To answer your question, Matt: yes, it is a compliment. Your type is always needed at BYU, especially this year as the Cougars start independence.

More information about Matt Bellini can be found in his Past Player Profile
The Editor appreciates all feedback. He can be reached via email at bluecougarfootball@gmail.com

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