SOUTH BEND, Ind. — In the aftermath of last Saturday's 47-7 loss to TCU at Rice-Eccles Stadium, Utah quarterbacks coach Brian Johnson placed a call to starter Jordan Wynn. He wanted to talk to his star pupil about a subpar performance that led to booing from the fans.
"I've been there before. So I think it was helpful," Johnson said. "I understood what he was going through."
Johnson told Wynn about the Oregon State game in 2008. After turning the ball over and having three consecutive three-and-out possessions in the second half, Johnson said the fans started booing.
"I kind of drew from that experience and I understand how he feels. But you've got to understand at the same time it's big-time Division I college football. It kind of comes along with the territory," Johnson said. "First they love you. Then they hate you. Then they love you again. That's a part of it. I think Jordan has done a good job understanding that."
As such, he's expecting Wynn and the Utes to rally the troops and play well Saturday at Notre Dame.
It's been Wynn's primary focal point after turning the ball over three times (two interceptions and a fumble) and completing just 16-of-35 passes for 148 yards against the Horned Frogs.
The sophomore said the booing that developed is something that just comes with the job.
"You have to have thick skin. You've got to be able to grow up fast. You can't take things personally, bottom line," Wynn said. "Whether it be the fans booing or my performance, you've got to move on and have a short memory. So I'm going to do that. I'm going to move on and put all my focus into Notre Dame."
Johnson isn't surprised, noting that such circumstances either make a quarterback angry and determined to get better, or into the tank.
And the latter, he added, is not Jordan Wynn.
"Jordan's a guy that I think plays better when he's mad," Johnson said. "Hopefully we can use that as some extra motivation this week."
It may not be necessary.
"I'll be fine. We'll bounce back. We just need to get on the field Saturday," Wynn said. "The only way I know to correct this feeling of a loss is to go out and try to win another game."
Getting the 15th-ranked Utes (8-1) back on track tops the priority list. Wynn, who is now 6-1 as the starter this season, will lead the charge offensively.
"He understands what's important and he understands that we've got to come out and play well this week," Johnson said. "So he has to rally the troops. … We've got a lot to prove, but the good part is we've got the opportunity to prove it on a big-time stage."
The Notre Dame game will be broadcast on NBC, giving a true national audience a look at the Utes.
Johnson said the key to success is not to panic or deviate too much.15 comments on this story
"We've just got to come out and just have a renewed sense of focus and play great on Saturday," he explained. "… I expect everyone to bounce back."
There isn't a single person in the program, Johnson continued, that isn't upset about the way the Utes played against TCU.
"We're coming off a tough game on Saturday," acknowledged Utah coach Kyle Whittingham. "I think we're generating momentum as the week goes on. We're ridding ourselves of the hangover."
Utes on the air
No. 15 Utah (8-1) at Notre Dame (4-5)
Saturday, 12:30 p.m. (MT)
TV: KSL, Ch. 5
Radio: 700 AM