Britain Covey on the art of the punt return, the healing power of horses and prepping for the NFL

Feb 4, 2022, 5:58 PM

utah utes win Pac-12 championship and head to rose bowl...

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - DECEMBER 03: Wide receiver Britain Covey #18 of the Utah Utes celebrates the team's 38-10 victory over the Oregon Ducks to win the Pac-12 Conference championship game at Allegiant Stadium on December 3, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The win cleared the way for the Utes to go to the Rose Bowl for the first time in school history. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY — Wide receiver Britain Covey set the University of Utah football record in career punt return yards (1,092). Who can forget his 97-yard punt return for a touchdown on New Year’s Day to help the Utes maintain a lead during the Rose Bowl against Ohio State?

He joined Inside Sources host Boyd Matheson to talk about the art of the punt return, social-media fan fickleness, a life-changing injury, the healing power of horses and making it in the NFL.

Covey on ‘Organized chaos’

“You’ve been part of a great family legacy focused on principles,” Boyd said. “And so, I want to start with some first principles just about kick returning, punt returning in particular, which is sort of organized chaos. And you are the target.”

“People ask me what my motivation is, or thoughts are on a punt return. And most the time it’s just fear, just scared of getting tackled,” Covey said.

He said from the snap to the kick, to its peak, to catching the ball, his eyes are focused on different spots on the football field.

“And then our blockers are setting up a specific scheme. So, it’s just, it’s very technical. And it’s really cool. But the main thing is just to catch the ball,” he said, adding he aced the punt-returner job by catching the ball more consistently than other players vying for the same spot on the team.

“That was the only reason why I got on the field at the beginning of my career was because I could catch the ball.”

“We get caught in our politics. We get caught in business by looking four steps down the road. And then we muff the early stuff and never get a chance to do the really cool stuff,” Boyd said.

Resilience of Covey

“You went through one of those big-time devastating ACL injuries. What did you learn about yourself in that process?” Boyd asked.

“That was such a difficult process for me. I met my wife in that time, which was the silver lining,” Covey said.

He said during his freshman year he would read comments and compliments on social media, such as “You are so fast,” and “You’re so good.” But after his ACL injury, he learned those same complimentary people had changed. And were instead saying: “What are we doing giving Covey the ball?” “He’s not the same type of player,” and “He’ll never be as fast as he once was.”

“It hurt, of course, but I realized that you can’t put your value on yourself, your worth in, obviously, what other people think of you, but in just your production on a football field because that’s so up and down and so unpredictable,” Covey said.

He said he knows his worth as a person is more than what he does (or doesn’t do) on the football field in one game.

“I feel like that’s helped me a lot because now, even if I don’t make the NFL or if I don’t have a good game or whatever it is, I’m not disappointed in myself. As a person, I can move forward.”

A horse to heal

July 1, 2021, marked the first day NCAA athletes were permitted to sign endorsement deals and earn money from their name, image and likeness without fear of losing their college eligibility.

“You partnered with Bridle Up Hope, which I know is not just a thing. It is an integral part of a mission to make a difference, especially for young women. Tell us about that,” Boyd said.

“The first thing I did was I called my uncle Sean because he’s the one that runs that charity in honor of his daughter, Rachel, who passed in 2011 or 2012. And she was my cousin and a good friend,” Covey said. “. . .  and it’s like you said, it just helps young girls battling depression, different aspects of mental health.

“Hundreds of girls have gone through the program, and I’ve talked to them, and they say it’s life-changing. And so, I wanted to promote that. Because it really is so much more impactful than anything I could have promoted.”

Up next: NFL

“Give us a quick snapshot of what your preparation looks like. What you’re looking forward to [in] your efforts to break into the NFL?” Boyd asked

“‘I’m just training and, obviously, training for the NFL is pretty intense. I’ve got to gain a little bit of weight,” Covey said. “I don’t know what’s gonna come of it, but I hope someone gives me a shot.”

“That is another great principle: Be ready for your shot,” Boyd said in closing.

Inside Sources with Boyd Matheson can be heard weekdays from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Today’s Top Stories

Inside Sources

President Camille Johnson, General Relief Society President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter...

Mark Jones

Finding relief from life’s challenges with President Camille Johnson

General Relief Society President Camille Johnson spoke to KSL about her Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints ministry in Africa.

10 months ago

University of Utah impact scholar Tim Shriver, right, meets with members of Students for Dignity, i...

Mark Jones

U of U commencement speaker: Take a chance on yourself

Keynote speaker at the University of Utah commencement ceremony Tim Shriver told graduates to take a chance. He also urged them to ignore the noise and tune in to the best of themselves.

10 months ago

Next Thursday, Gov. Spenser Cox will deliver the 2023 State of the State Address to the Utah Legis...

Mark Jones

Bridging divides: Getting things done the Utah way

When it comes to getting things accomplished, the Beehive State is starting to be recognized for its ability for bridging divides.

10 months ago

biden judge trump border...

Mark Jones

Troops heading to southern border ahead of expiration of Title 42

The Pentagon announced Tuesday 1,500 troops will be going to the southern border to help with the increase of illegal immigrant crossings into the country once Title 42 expires.

10 months ago

A person receives a vaccine. Appointments for the updated covid booster are now available....

Mark Jones

Lessons learned from the pandemic, expert weighs in

James Lawler, a member of the Covid Crisis Group, joined Inside Sources Monday to discuss the lessons learned as a nation from the pandemic.

10 months ago

The military identified 11 additional cases of traumatic brain injury following a series of rocket ...

Mark Jones

Expert says Pentagon needs better method of classifying documents

Ryan Vogel, an associate professor at Utah Valley University, joined Inside Sources on Tuesday to discuss how the Pentagon can better classify its documents.

10 months ago

Sponsored Articles

close up of rose marvel saliva blooms in purple...

Shannon Cavalero

Drought Tolerant Perennials for Utah

The best drought tolerant plants for Utah can handle high elevations, alkaline soils, excessive exposure to wind, and use of secondary water.

Group of cheerful team members high fiving each other...

Visit Bear Lake

How To Plan a Business Retreat in Bear Lake This Spring

Are you wondering how to plan a business retreat this spring? Read our sample itinerary to plan a team getaway to Bear Lake.

Cheerful young woman writing an assignment while sitting at desk between two classmates during clas...

BYU EMBA at the Marriott School of Business

Hear it Firsthand: 6 Students Share Their Executive MBA Experience at BYU’s Marriott School of Business

The Executive MBA program at BYU offers great opportunities. Hear experiences straight from students enrolled in the program.

Skier being towed by a rider on a horse. Skijoring....

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Looking for a New Winter Activity? Try Skijoring in Bear Lake

Skijoring is when someone on skis is pulled by a horse, dog, animal, or motor vehicle. The driver leads the skiers through an obstacle course over jumps, hoops, and gates.

Banner with Cervical Cancer Awareness Realistic Ribbon...

Intermountain Health

Five Common Causes of Cervical Cancer – and What You Can Do to Lower Your Risk

January is National Cervical Cancer Awareness month and cancer experts at Intermountain Health are working to educate women about cervical cancer.

Kid holding a cisco fish at winterfest...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Get Ready for Fun at the 2023 Bear Lake Monster Winterfest

The Bear Lake Monster Winterfest is an annual weekend event jam-packed full of fun activities the whole family can enjoy.

Britain Covey on the art of the punt return, the healing power of horses and prepping for the NFL