Jordan Wynn sported a new look, a new outlook and a decidedly better throwing motion Tuesday as he and the Utah Utes opened spring ball.
Wynn, who declined media interviews following the season-ending shoulder injury he suffered against Washington on Oct. 1, was back on the field with the Utes directing the offense and throwing with confidence.
Afterward, he said he feels better than he has in a long time and is determined to make it through the 2012 season without an injury.
“I haven’t been able to do that, and this time I’m going to,” he said.
To help him do so, Wynn has added about 10 pounds to his 6-foot-1 frame to weigh in at 210. Most noticeable is the muscle in his upper body.
“He has arms instead of No. 2 pencils hanging from his shoulders,” coach Kyle Whittingham said jokingly.
Wynn, who earned the starting job near the end of the 2009 season, missed three games with injuries in 2010 and wasn’t 100 percent for most of the year.
Last season he felt he was just reaching his potential when he suffered the shoulder injury against the Huskies in the first half.
Tuesday he admitted he never knew making it through a season could be so hard, but he is determined to do so now. Wynn has been throwing since January and, unlike last year in the fall, he has no restrictions on the number of throws he can make.
“I haven’t felt this good in a long time,” he said. “I feel like I’m at a turning point in my career and I’m really looking forward to this season.”
Wynn says he’s ready to prove himself.
“I’m going to challenge myself,” he said. “I haven’t played a whole year and it’s important for me to do so.”
Whittingham, who reiterated that Wynn is the No. 1 quarterback despite the presence of promising freshmen Travis Wilson and Chase Hansen, said he liked what he saw in the first day of practice from Wynn.
“It is good to have him back there,” he said.
Wynn said he spent extra time in the gym to help his strength and durability. Receiver DeVonte Christopher said he has noticed a difference, although he took some of the credit for Wynn’s improvement.
“He has a lot more zip on the ball and is more mobile, I don’t know where that came from,” Christopher said.
“I had to get him in the gym and work on those biceps and triceps,” he jokingly added.
As for the offense in general, Wynn and his teammates get down to the real work of installing new offensive coordinator Brian Johnson’s schemes when they resume practice Thursday.
Tuesday’s session had enough to make Whittingham happy.
“So far so good,” he said. “I did like the tempo and everyone had a good effort.”
Finding replacements for key offensive linemen John Cullen and Tony Bergstrom is at the top of the Utes’ list, as is watching the backup quarterback race between Wilson and Hansen. Also getting into the mix will be junior college transfer Kelvin York, a powerful running back who will compete with returner John White for playing time.
Opening week schedule
Thursday • No pads, 3-5 p.m.
Saturday • Tackle, 10 a.m.-noon
Note • Outdoor practices are open to public