Krugers

Utah County-raised Kruger Bros. savoring last year together

2012-09-13T12:00:00Z 2013-11-06T21:45:26Z Utah County-raised Kruger Bros. savoring last year togetherJason Franchuk - Daily Herald Daily Herald
September 13, 2012 12:00 pm  • 

Dave and Joe Kruger will admit they live better than most college students. It helps having a brother in the NFL, and getting to house-sit for him.

And when the offseason rolls around, and the three can be together training, it means, in Dave's words, "living like meatheads."

Yes, TVs are around. Weights, too. And an area with a blender set up, so the fellas can use those 12 gallons of milk they've purchased to whip up some protein shakes.

Though the brothers don't really talk football or the rivalry game that much, especially on the phone, it's understood: The younger Krugers know what it takes to reach the next level, and they certainly know how important it is for them to play well against close-to-home BYU.

Not to mention how important it is to savor this season.

"It's our last year together," Joe Kruger said. "Dave and I are going to try and make the most of it."

That means, in their Orem-raised hopes, working the defensive line to a fury that frustrates BYU on Saturday at Rice-Eccles Stadium. Joe, a junior, off the end and Dave in his final college season working his stuff inside.

It would mean perhaps running some "twist games" with each to open up gaps for themselves, or teammates. Both teams' offensive lines have looked vulnerable through the first two weeks of the season, meaning the line-of-scrimmage battle could determine overall success.

The Krugers' concern facing run-capable BYU quarterback Riley Nelson is if the Cougars dupe the Krugers and Co. to over-pursue, and allow Nelson the ability to roam up the middle of the field.

"We have totally different assignments, but there will be times my brother and I will be lined up next to each other," Joe said at a recent Utah practice. "That's fun. Hopefully we'll be able to make some plays."

It is a close-knit group, even if Paul is off in Baltimore after a stellar Ute career that landed him as a second-round NFL draft pick in 2009, months after the Utes won the Sugar Bowl against Alabama.

The three actually could have played together, if Paul would have stayed in school one more year. He left Utah after his sophomore season (he had also served a two-year LDS mission).

Now, Joe and Dave live together in a posh Salt Lake City-area house paid for by their older brother. Others say the current Utes are almost connected at the hip pads, both starters along the same side of Utah's highly successful defensive line. Dave is a 6-foot-5, 300-pound tackle and Joe is a 6-foot-7, 280-pound end.

"We're counting on them. They're a big part of our defense and both of them have played good football for us in the past," Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said during August camp.

Paul's younger brothers understand and accept the blessing and curse that comes with having an older brother that excelled in the sport so highly, and continues to do so. It can, at times, mean extra and undue criticism.

Joe said the positives far outweigh any backlash.

"In the offseason, we all worked so hard on our explosiveness, that first step (as the ball is snapped)," he said. "We understand what it takes to get to that next level so you can compete at it, because we've seen what Paul does. If we're compared to him, you really just take it as a compliment. I'd say it drives you to be a better player."

If they rankle some Cougars this weekend, so be it. But they're going to stay on older brother's good side. With much given, as far as housing, comes many expectations.

"For college athletes we live really well," Dave said. "We keep that place clean. We try not to take advantage of that. We know we've got it good."

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