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Utah QB spot is back up for grabs

Published September 11, 2012 12:22 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Had some friends who watched the Utah-Utah State's game at a local sports bar who said the place erupted in cheers from Utah fans when quarterback Jordan Wynn was hurt against Utah State. Wonder if those fans are feeling happier today or guilty for cheering for Wynn's demise? Wynn's career as a Ute is officially over, coach Kyle Whittingham announced at Monday's press conference. The situation leaves the quarterback spot up for grabs between veteran Jon Hays and freshman Travis Wilson. The two will battle for the starting role this week, Whittingham said. Experience is the biggest thing separating the two in what Whittingham characterized as a small gap. "The gap is very small in practice and scrimmages," he said. "But you act differently when you are the guy. Travis has been the supplemental guy. He has handled that role well, but it's different when you are the guy." I just don't see the Utes starting Wilson against BYU on Saturday. Hays did a decent job running the offense against Utah State and has been in some tough spots with the Utes last year so my hunch is he'll be the starter against the Cougars. In past situations such as this, Whittingham has declined to name a starter with the reasoning there is no sense in helping an opponent prepare. I expect that will be the case this week. However, it's clear from what Whittingham said that Wilson is going to see more and more time and is the future QB for the Utes. Unlike last year, Whittingham said the offense won't need to be scaled back for either Wilson or Hays. "We don't feel like we'd have to modify hardly at all, if at all," he said. Whittingham said Wynn still has more medical tests ahead of him, but indications are he'll need a fourth surgery to repair the damage. Wynn has his degree but will remain with the team and assist Hays and Wilson, Whittingham said. "He has talked to me about possibly getting into coaching as a student assistant or graduate assistant in the future," Whittingham said. "He is a tough kid." Utah's players who attended Monday's press conference first learned of Wynn's decision at the presser. "My heart goes out to him," tight end Dallin Rogers said. "It's a tough situation." As for the rest of the team, Whittingham said not one aspect, from any phase of the game to coaching, was good against the Aggies on Friday. The main concern is the offensive line, which performed poorly against the Aggies. The Utes moved guard Sam Brenner to left tackle during Friday's game and the senior will start there Saturday. Junior Vyncent Jones, the backup center, will start at right guard. Senior Miles Mason, who was starting at left tackle, is listed as the backup at right tackle now behind starter Percy Taumoelau and freshman Kala Friel. Whittingham acknowledged the line played surprisingly poor. "It's still a work in progress, unfortunately," he said. "We'd like it to be solidified but we haven't been able to do that. We are trying to get the continuity and right combination. We thought we had the right combination but it turns out we didn't, we have weak links that have to get fixed." Another spot up for grabs could be the free safety position where starter Eric Rowe is questionable with a strained hamstring. Sophomores Terrell Reese, Tyron Morris-Edwards and junior Michael Walker are competing for the starting role if Rowe can't play Saturday. - Lya Wodraska