Utah football: Jordan Wynn plans to let loose, launch the ball against USC
Utah quarterback Jordan Wynn says he isolates himself from most of the media reports and fan forums so he can focus on his game.
However, he didn't need to listen to any radio stations or look at any chat boards to understand that fans weren't thrilled with his performance in the Utes' opener. He wasn't happy about it, either.
Now, with the Utes set to make their Pac-12 conference debut against USC on Saturday, Wynn says he is determined to play his game.
"I was playing smarter and trying to take care of the football, and that's not really my game," he said of his 15-for-23-for-101 yards performance in the Utes' 27-10 win over Montana State. "I have to cut loose. It's no secret that is what needs to be done."
Taking care of the football and not turning it over is a consistent point of emphasis for the Utes, but Utah averaged a mere 6.7 yards per completion against the Bobcats. A similar performance won't get the job done against the Trojans, according to Utah coach Kyle Whittingham.
"We need to dial it up more and take more shots downfield," he said.
USC didn't look spectacular in its opener, escaping with a 19-17 win over Minnesota, but the Utes must create more big plays Saturday than they did Thursday, Wynn said.
Utah has scored just two points in its three previous visits to the L.A. Coliseum. Of course, those games were played in 1925, 1932 and 1948. But Saturday would be a good time to break that trend, just the same.
"You have to be able to throw the ball downfield and get junk plays with either me throwing deep or a receiver taking something short and breaking it," Wynn said. "It has to be done for the offense to be potent."
The Utes protected Wynn's shoulder throughout camp by limiting his throws so as not to cause any overuse injuries.
Such restraint led to a lot of speculation that perhaps Wynn wasn't as healthy as the coaches said he was.
On Tuesday, Whittingham conceded there might be something to that theory, but from a mental perspective, not a physical one.
"Jordan has to gain confidence in the arm," Whittingham said. "It's not a physical but mental thing. Anyone who has had surgery, whether it's a knee or a shoulder, knows there is a certain amount of time where you have to figure out, 'It's better and I can cut loose and throw it without worrying about some pain or a setback.' That is where we are right now. It is something he is battling through psychologically and has nothing to do with his shoulder. It's completely healthy."
Wynn was sacked twice by Montana State, which showed he could withstand hits. Getting chased around by USC defenders might not be the best scenario for most quarterbacks to build confidence, but Wynn said he couldn't think of a better situation for him to rebound in than Saturday's game.
He said he understood why Whittingham called Thursday's offensive showing "abysmal" and agreed with his coach's assessment. He didn't take it personally, he said, but understands why his coach was so critical.
"I have to throw the ball harder and farther and just let loose and play my game," he said. "I picture myself as a gunslinger and letting it roll, and I didn't do that. I have to do that Saturday."
Utah offensive rankings
Category Avg. Pac-12 NCAA
Rushing offense 191.0 5 39
Passing offense 101.0 12 101
Pass efficiency offense 130.8 9 62
Total offense 292.0 10 88
Scoring offense 27.0 T-9 T-65