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Whittingham says he's sticking with Wynn

Published November 15, 2010 11:33 pm

Utah football • But Whittingham says quarterback position is open to competition.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2010, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Saddled with their first losing streak since the 2007 season, the Utah Utes admit something has to change before they play San Diego State on Saturday.

Whether that change involves a quarterback switch remains to be seen.

Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said he is sticking with sophomore Jordan Wynn as the Utes' quarterback for now but didn't dismiss the possibility that Wynn could be replaced with senior Terrance Cain based on their performances in practice.

"It's a competitive situation that is subject to performance and production," Whittingham said. "It's that way across the board."

The No. 25 Utes (8-2, 5-1) have been outscored 75-10 in the past two games after averaging 45 points through the first eight games.

"That's not going to cut it," Whittingham said. "The most pressing issue is to get that solved. That is the plan."

Wynn, who said he has never suffered a losing streak in his career, acknowledged he needed to play better and hoped that returning to his old stomping grounds in San Diego would help.

"I've had some good times back at Qualcomm Stadium," he said. "Hopefully, Saturday is one of those. Any win right now will do at this point. This team needs a win and we need it badly."

While it might be easy to point to the quarterback as the issue, Whittingham said he didn't want to insinuate that the inefficient offense was all on Wynn.

"You're thinking about anything you can do to create a spark," Whittingham said. "It's not just directed at Jordan."

The Utes, who haven't lost three games in a row since Whittingham's first year in 2005, also have to have some leaders step forward on the team, Whittingham said.

"We can address it as coaches, but ultimately it comes from the players," he said of the team leadership. "The players have to step up. You can talk until you are blue in the face, but they have to take ownership of the football team. Great leadership comes from within. You can try to foster that as coaches and bring it out of them, but it comes from the team itself."

Whittingham didn't try to sugarcoat the Utes' situation, saying the Utes were right in the middle of adversity.

"It's all around us," he said. "Like I said, the one way out is to put your nose to the ground and fight your way out. The leadership needs to step up and we need the leadership now more than ever. It's easy to lead when things are going well, but when the chips are down and things are going tough, that is when you find out what the leadership is made of."

Quarterbacks are considered leaders on teams by virtue of the position, but defensive lineman Sealver Siliga said it wasn't just Wynn's job to lift the team during this crisis.

"It may look like everything is falling apart but one thing I can tell you guys is the leaders are stepping up," Siliga said. "Like coach said, it's easy to be a leader when you are winning; when everything goes downhill, you have to step it up more."

Even though the defense had the better moments against the Irish, Siliga said it was important for the team to remain together.

"One thing we have to focus on is not pointing fingers," he said. "If the offense makes a mistake, it's the whole team. There is no offense or defense. When it comes down to it, we are all the Utes."

lwodraska@sltrib.comTwitter: @lyawodraska,@sltributes —

Saturday's game

P Utah at San Diego State, 8 p.m.; TV • The Mtn. —

SDSU by the numbers

150.9 • Average rushing yards per game

269.88 • Passing yards per game

420.7 • Total offensive yards per game

33.8 • Average points

149.4 • Rushing yards per game allowed

198.9 • Passing yards per game allowed

348.3 • Total yards per game allowed

22.1 • Average points allowed