PROVO — Monday's news that injured Utah quarterback Jordan Wynn is retiring from football prompted sympathy from the BYU Cougars as they prepare to face the Utes Saturday.
Over the past couple of years, Wynn has suffered multiple shoulder injuries, the most recent coming last Friday in a loss at Utah State. On Monday, Utah coach Kyle Whittingham announced that Wynn's career is over.
"I feel for Jordan Wynn," said coach Bronco Mendenhall. "He's battled and come back, and battled and come back, and battled and come back. It's hard. I feel for him."
"That's such a special thing, to start at a program like Utah, then to have that taken away from you so many times by no fault of your own, just because of the nature of the game, is definitely tough," said Cougar quarterback Riley Nelson. "My heart goes out to him. I know he's a high-character guy. He'll make the most of his time that he's spent at Utah and I'm sure he'll go on to have a successful life."
Linebacker Brandon Ogletree said that although Wynn plays for BYU's rival, "that's just terrible. You never want to hear that about anybody. It's just a reminder that we're all one play away, one hit away from being done. It's terrible. Probably the worst thing about college football is the injuries. We feel for him and wish him well. We hope he gets better."
With Wynn out, BYU will be preparing for senior Jon Hays — who played much of last season after replacing an injured Wynn — and freshman Travis Wilson.
"We'll plan for the next quarterback after (Wynn)," Mendenhall said. "I think the freshman will play some, which he is already doing in different formations and personnel groups. That's the direction we'll take. … It doesn't alter our preparation that much. … The quarterback that will be starting led them to an 8-5 record. He has good experience."
NOT IMPRESSED: BYU cracked the Associated Press top 25 poll Sunday — not that it mattered much to Mendenhall.
"I don't think they ought to have rankings until after Week 7, then everyone would have an idea of who's good and who's not good," he said. "The rest of it until then, I don't know what it is, but hold much weight. I haven't mentioned it to our team and I don't intend to. Nor do I think it's a giant thing."
INJURY UPDATE: Wide receiver Ross Apo, who was sidelined for last Saturday's win over Weber State due to a hamstring injury, is expected to play against Utah, Mendenhall said, adding that he "looked pretty good" at Monday's practice.
Meanwhile, Nelson, who played only in the first half Saturday after suffering back spasms, is still sore, but Mendenhall said, "I'm very confident he'll play Saturday."
Nelson described the injury as "just typical tightness. … It was a helmet to the back. It's good. It loosened up, I'm getting treatment. It's a non-issue."
Asked if he will be ready for Saturday's game, Nelson replied, "No question."
INDY PLAYER OF THE WEEK: BYU senior punter/placekicker Riley Stephenson was named FBS Independent special teams player of the week.
Stephenson punted five times for an average of 53.2 yards, including a 61-yarder, against Weber State. He also nailed a 33-yard field goal and all six PATs.
Notre Dame quarterback Everett Golson and Fighting Irish cornerback Bennett Jackson earned offensive and defensive player of the week honors, respectively.