"It feels great," said Blechen after a spring practice. "After being out for so long, I've been itching to get back. I kind of feel like a kid in a candy store. It was awesome being out here, whether it was running through stuff, stretching or doing live work. It's so good to be back."
"He didn't play at all last year, so he's rusty," said head coach Kyle Whittingham. "But he's in great shape."
Blechen battled through tendinitis in his knee during fall camp before finally shutting it down, making it the most difficult season of his career.
"That definitely was one of the tougher things I had to do," Blechen said. "Especially not having the season we wanted, it made me want to be out there that much more."
Blechen is switching back from linebacker to his original position of safety, where he was a freshman All-American in 2010.
"It's definitely back to my roots going back with Coach [Morgan] Scalley," Blechen said. "Right now, I'm just trying to get the weight down and get used to being at safety weight because last year, I wasn't doing too much."
"We had four or five linebackers that we really feel good about, and we're thin at safety," Whittingham explained. "He's been kind of a wild card the last few years, and we're moving him back to where we need him."
Blechen, who has never shied away from hitting, isn't being tentative on his healthy knee so far.
"So far I'm not," he said. "I'll probably get a couple bruises here and there and start to be a little more tentative. But as far as being hesitant because of my knee, I don't have to anymore at all."
That's bad news for opposing quarterbacks who may be feeling a little Blechen blue.