Spenser Heaps, Deseret News
Brigham Young University offensive back Austin Lee poses for a photo at the school’s indoor practice facility in Provo on Wednesday, Aug. 2, 2017.
PROVO — BYU backup safety Austin Lee has a different perspective on the rivalry with Utah than most do.
That’s because after signing with the Utes in 2015, and, after playing on Utah’s special teams in 2015, Lee transferred to BYU.
Lee is a friend of several Utah players, including star safety Chase Hansen.
“I still talk to quite a few of them,” Lee said. “Those guys in the safety group I was pretty close with. It’s fun to interact with them, as well as former players like Tevin Carter. It’s fun to see where they are in their lives and where they’re playing at Utah or wherever they’re playing.”
But now that Rivalry Week is here, it’s all business.
“When you’re on that field, you’ve got to turn it loose. You’ve got to change that mindset — that you’re a competitive person and you’re going to do everything you can to get that win,” Lee said. “Some things might be different on the field. There might be anger or animosity but things can change after. You can still be friends. That’s how it was with my family growing up in backyard football — chippy on the field, but friends afterward.”
Lee, a 6-foot, 202-pound sophomore who prepped at Alta High, learned a lot from Hansen when the two were teammates.
“He was always a leader and a hard worker,” he said. “He taught me that it’s one thing to know you’re assignment and you’re technique, but it’s another thing to know how to lead and make big plays when you need to make them. He’s a great example of hard work and competing as well.”
“Austin’s a good friend,” Hansen said. “We talk now and again, stay in touch as far as like just family and stuff like that, simple stuff — wish each other luck every once in a while. So we stay in touch.”
Lee’s ties to Utah go way back. His dad, Doug, played baseball at Utah and his grandfather, Gordon, played football at Utah from…