SUU lineman to square off against younger brother
AP Sports Writer
|Brad Sorensen looks for a pass as Cody Larsen closes in on him during Southern Utah University's spring scrimmage in Cedar City on April 16, 2011. / Kina Wilde / The Spectrum & Daily News|
SALT LAKE CITY — Cody Larsen has always looked out for his little brother, whether it was sliding extra mashed potatoes onto his plate or calming his nerves when he made his first start as a high school freshman.
That all changes Thursday when the two linemen go head to head for the first time when Southern Utah travels to Logan to take on Utah State in the season opener for both teams.
Although they're three years apart, Cody and Tyler frequently are mistaken for one another — even by their mother.
It doesn't help that both wear No. 58, something that at least will make it easy for torn family members cheering them on Thursday.
"They're talking about trying to sew two shirts together, one for SUU and one for Utah State," the 21-year-old Tyler said of his parents. "It's going to be different. We've never been able to do this before. We were on the same side of the ball in high school, so it's an entirely new experience. It will be interesting."
Tyler has started 25 straight games at center for Utah State and earned first-team all-WAC honors in 2011. This is the second straight season he's on the Rimington Trophy Watch List, an award given to the nation's top center. He's also a candidate for the Outland Trophy and Lombardi Award.
Cody, 24, is a two-time first-team all-Great West Conference honoree and three-year starter on the defensive line for Southern Utah. In his career, he has 82 tackles, 16.5 tackles for loss and 12 sacks.
He figures he'll be up against Tyler about half the defensive snaps as he flops between defensive tackle and nose guard.
"Tyler is so strong and Cody is so fast, it will be interesting," said their father, LeRoy Larsen of Draper. "They're evenly matched."
Ask each player who is better looking and a different story emerges.
"I'd have to say me," said Tyler, a statement Cody disputed a few minutes later.
Both acknowledge they look quite a bit alike, down to the goatees they sport.
"We get mistaken for each other all the time," said Cody, who visited with his brother Sunday at the family home one last time before the big game. "I'll get asked how Utah State is going to be this year, and who's going to start at quarterback."