Jordan Wynn spent most of Utah's spring practice sessions standing on the sidelines, tossing a football from one hand to another, just itching to play with his teammates.
He finally got a chance to join in the action Thursday when the Utes opened practice for the 2011 season.
Wynn, who was held out of spring ball while recovering from shoulder surgery, showed no ill effects from the time off or the injury that hampered him through the last half of the 2010 season as he made several nice passes during Thursday's opening session.
"It felt good to come out here and sweat with the guys and get in there and take some reps," he said. "We have a lot of stuff to work on, but we'll get there. That is what camp is for."
Wynn isn't allowed to throw more than 100 passes a day as a precaution to keep his shoulder healthy, but he made the most of his opportunities, Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said.
"He did everything great," Whittingham said. "He showed great leadership, great velocity throwing the ball well and putting it in the right spots and making good decisions and getting us lined up right. It was a big positive having him back."
Whittingham called Wynn a player who was mature beyond his years, a trait that has accelerated his development as Utah's quarterback.
Now the Oceanside, Calif., native, who earned his way into a starting role as a freshman, is eager to show he belongs among the elite Pac-12 quarterbacks along with players such as Stanford's Andrew Luck and USC's Matt Barkley. Wynn said he grew up watching UCLA and USC games and is motivated to excel in a conference known for its quarterbacks.
"It's my junior year and I've been here two years so I'm not that young guy anymore," he said. "It's time to step up and assert myself as being in that category with those guys and that is what I am trying to do and it's my goal to come out and work hard."
Wynn made up for his down time by putting in extra time during the summer voluntary workouts with his offense to make sure he had a good grasp of the new offense installed by offensive coordinator Norm Chow.
"You can learn all you can in the media room, but then actually taking the reps and practicing with the guys is a lot different," Wynn said. "We do it every summer, but we did it a little more with the new offense. We wanted to get the timing down and we got together a lot."
Wynn said adjusting to the new offense has been easy for him because it is similar to the one he ran in high school.
"It's like riding a bike, you don't forget it," he said. "We've been working hard all summer to get this down and we didn't make too many mental mistakes. We just need to go play."
Chow, who downplayed the changes to the offense, was as glowing in his rating of Wynn's performance as Whittingham was, calling Wynn terrific and noting the quarterback caught a formation mistake that he had overlooked.
"The concern with Jordan is more physical than mental," Chow said. "The guy is always in the office learning and he likes football."
What we learned • Quarterback Jordan Wynn is ready to go after missing spring ball following shoulder surgery. He impressed the coaches by running the offense well and having good velocity on his passes.
Who was hot • Former rugby player Thretton Palamo looked more comfortable Thursday than he did in the spring. He is competing with John White and Harvey Langi for the starting slot at running back.
Who was missing • Offensive lineman Po'u Palelei has a "50-50" shot at joining the Utes. Several players missed Thursday's practice and weight-lifting sessions due to finals.
Jordan Wynn by the numbers
Year Games Comp. Att. Int. Yds. TDs
2009 6 104 179 4 1,329 8
2010 10 186 299 10 2,334 17