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Utah May Decide to Burn Freshman Jordan Wynn's Redshirt

Way back in August there was a three player battle for the Utes quarterback position and JUCO transfer Terrance Cain won the battle, which lead to Corbin Louks transferring to Nevada.

That left the Utes with no player on the roster who has taken a division one snap at the quarterback position with Cain the number one, and then true freshman Jordan Wynn as the back up.

My opinion was that if Wynn was not the starter then he should use 2009 as a redshirt year and then allow him the chance to start for three seasons. That plan some what went out the window with Louks gone, but as the season went on a redshirt seemed more likely.

Terrance Cain has been doing a solid job as the starter by leading the Utes to a 6-1 record, he is fourth in the Mountain West in passing yards, 13th in rushing and only behind the Air Force quarterbacks, but is so far unable to throw down field with great accuracy. Another down fall is his ability to run the zone read option to the success it could have. Cain is sometimes hesitant to fake the hand off and run the ball himself, even when the entire defense is following the running back thus leaving a huge hole for him to run.

Then the main concern is the fumbles and miscues on offense. The Utes are lucky enough to not lose many of those fumbles, and were very fortunate in the Air Force game where Eddie Wide recovered two fumbles with one being ran 44 yards for a touchdown.

Now, if Wynn was a redshirt freshman or upper classman he definitely would have entered the game, because Coach Whittingham hates turnovers and mistakes. Cain is still suffering from a lingering ankle injury which is why in the last two games his rushing totals were 22 yards against UNLV and minus 16 yards against Air Force.

Coach Whittingham this week addressed the issue if freshman Jordan Wynn would see time this year:

"We're hoping at some point (this season) he's going to get an opportunity — maybe this week," Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said during the Mountain West teleconference on Tuesday. "We'll see."

The coach followed up on his comments about Wynn's situation later in the day after practice.

"We've been hoping to have gotten him in by now, but maybe this is the week."

Now, this could just be coach speak, because prior to the season Whittingham said that he wanted to play both quarterbacks. A big reason why a switch may not have been made this season is because back in 2006 -- Whittingham's second year as coach-- had a similar quarterback issue with Brian Johnson redshirting while recovering from an ACL tear, and the position between Tommy Grady and Brett Ratliff. In the opening game against UCLA on the road Whittihgam said both would play, and they did.

However, the move was disastrous as Brett Ratliff started the game, and then Whitt put in Tommy Grady who threw a pick six with his second pass attempt. That play and the indecision to stick to a quarterback hurt the Utes that season on their way to an 8-5 record. That is most likely why Cain has not been pulled for Wynn this year.

To bring in Wynn now with five games left could do a few things: the positives are that Wynn who is more of a passer then a pure runner like Cain and will spark the passing offense, it could hurt Cain's confidence and if their is a rotation between the two or if Wynn struggles and Cain is back that could cause mental problems with each player playing uptight as to not get pulled. The reason Wynn has not been put in any games now is that the Utes are winning and Cain has been doing well; up until the last two games. With the conference title and an outside BCS shot Whittingham wants to keep winning and not throw away any games.

Again, everyone must be reminded that Wynn did enroll early in January to be able to compete for the job and put on the necessary weight to be able to take the hits at the FBS level, but he is still a true freshman. Currently there are only three true freshman who are starting at the FBS level: Matt Barkley at USC, Austyn Carta-Samuels at Wyoming, and Tate Forcier at Michigan.

Out of the three Barkley is obviously the best and even he is putting up decent numbers. He is doing good in passing yards at 256 per game, but on the year has seven touchdowns to five picks. Michigan's Tate Forcier is well below Barkley in passing yards at 145, but is on the same level in his touchdown to interception ratio at 9:5. While Forcier has lead Michigan to a few come from behind victories he also has been benched. Finally, there is Wyoming's Carta-Samules and he was involved in a quarterback shuffle for a few weeks before winning the job, and is similar to Forcier with his passing stats to go along with two picks and six scores in five games as a starter and two in spot time.

These three true frosh are all fairly similar in that they are putting up decent passing numbers -- Barkley being the exception in that category-- and that they are not putting up huge touchdown numbers and have a slight problem in interceptions.

The move to Jordan Wynn at this point in the season should not be used to just get him playing time, spark the offense for a limited basis, or see if a change motivates Terrance Cain to rasie his game. A change at game seven should be permanent unless of injury or total ineffectiveness by Wynn thus putting the ball back into Cain's hand for the rest of the season.

Coach Whittingham is a smart guy and would not burn a players redshirt just for a few snaps in garbage time (something former Utah coach Ron McBride did to former Ute QB Alex Smith in 2002) The recent talk from Whitt about maybe putting in Wynn is just talk when asked, because he does not want anything to be definite to come back to him by saying either 'yes' or 'no.'