Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News
SALT LAKE CITY — Utah quarterback Jordan Wynn is feeling good. The junior, who had shoulder surgery in December, expects to be 100 percent when the Utes open the season Sept. 1 against Montana State. He's been throwing the ball for several weeks now and is doing so free of pain.
"I've just got to continue to progress," said Wynn, who is in the midst of voluntary summer conditioning workouts with his teammates.
Utah's projected starter is being brought along incrementally. His throwing range has gradually increased since being cleared to make tosses shortly after spring ball concluded.
"We anticipate a full recovery. Things have gone well in his rehabilitation," said Utah coach Kyle Whittingham. "He's right on schedule and barring any setbacks he should be full-go for the season opener."
The hardest thing, according to Wynn, is the mental part of it. Physically, he's all healed up and is ready to let it rip.
"Luckily I have all summer to do that and get ready. I have no doubt that I'll be ready," Wynn said. "The main thing for me this year is to stay healthy."
Whittingham agrees. The Utes, he acknowledged, are a bit thin in terms of experience at quarterback. With Griff Robles being moved to linebacker, Wynn is the only signal caller in the program with any major college experience. The backups are freshman Tyler Shreve and junior college transfer Jon Hays.
"But we've got a proven starter," Whittingham said. "We've got to keep him healthy. That's a priority for us, obviously."
In 16 career games with the Utes, Wynn has completed 290-of-478 passes for 3,663 yards and 25 touchdowns. His last seven appearances, however, came after injuring his throwing shoulder in a 68-27 victory at Iowa State last October. It eventually required surgery and kept him out of the Las Vegas Bowl.
Prior to Utah's loss to Boise State, though, Wynn continued to play and quarterbacked the Utes to victories over Wyoming, Colorado State, Air Force, San Diego State and BYU. High points included a 321-yard passing performance against CSU and a 362-yard showing against SDSU.
"I would say I wasn't really in a whole lot of pain," Wynn said. "It felt fine."
The most difficult thing, he explained, was practicing throughout the week.
"He was hurting. There's no doubt about it. But he's a tough kid," Whittingham said. "He's competitive and he played through it."
Wynn, however, wasn't as sharp as he had been earlier in the season — throwing eight interceptions over the seven-game stretch and failing to pass for 200 yards in four of the contests, including losses to TCU and Notre Dame.
Playing with an injury, noted Utah quarterbacks coach Brian Johnson, can be frustrating. Johnson speaks from experience, having done so at times in his playing career.
"Obviously when you have an injury to your throwing shoulder it will affect your play a little bit," he said. "I know Jordan has worked extremely hard to put himself in a position to be healthy for the season. Our training staff has done a great job rehabbing it and getting him where he needs to be."
Johnson has discussed the situation with Wynn a couple of times. He told him the key is to not get discouraged and stick with the plan.
"I think he has a chance to be a very special player for us. He has all the tools and the skills to be successful at this level," Johnson said. "We're finding a way to put him in position to be our guy, make plays for us and be the guy that we can lean on this season."
For starters, Utah brought in famed offensive coordinator Norm Chow and altered the scheme.
- Brad Rock: This is where conference switch...
- Dick Harmon: Presence of injured stars looms...
- Tyler Haws scores 24 as BYU holds off Stanford
- Wyoming transfer Jason Thompson makes Utah...
- Big winner: Utes hit jackpot early and often...
- Sunday morning QB: Stars and stats from No....
- BYU-Memphis an 'intriguing' bowl matchup
- Utah basketball team makes it a doubly-good...
- BYU football: Cougars in talks with... 62
- BYU defensive back transferring to Utah... 51
- Big winner: Utes hit jackpot early and... 50
- Hamson and Gray step up big to get BYU... 45
- Dick Harmon: How a simple decision in... 34
- Ute football team has boots on the... 33
- Ranking the biggest bowl games in... 28
- Brad Rock: This is where conference... 24