Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said he is sticking with Jordan Wynn at quarterback, but also said he would not hesitate to pull anybody who struggles Saturday against San Diego State.
After a second straight subpar performance, Wynn seemed to be on the hot seat. Whittingham said after the 28-3 loss to Notre Dame he would re-evaluate the position, but reiterated Tuesday during the Mountain West Conferences coaches call that Wynn was his guy.
"We expect him to be confident, be a leader," Whittingham said of Wynn. "It’s a leadership position by nature and that’s what we’ve got to have. Jordan’s had a couple of tough ball games and I fully expect him to respond like a big time Division I quarterback would. We expect production. If you’re not getting it you have to look at the alternatives you might have.
"Right now Jordan’s still our quarterback. We need him to respond, just like we need everybody on the football team to respond. There’s been a lot of things not up to par, particularly on offense."
In losses to TCU and Notre Dame, Wynn is 40-of-74 for 342 yards with one touchdown and three interceptions. Backup Terrance Cain is a viable option. He was the starter last season before Wynn unseated him, and started two games earlier this year when Wynn was out with a sprained thumb. Cain has only lost one game as a starter.
But this is a homecoming game for Wynn, who is from San Diego. He had one of his best games of his Utah career at Qualcomm Stadium last season, when he went 26-of-36 for 338 yards with three touchdowns and an interception in a 37-27 win over California in the Poinsettia Bowl en route to Offensive Player of the Game honors. He also went 2-0 when he played there in high school.
When asked whether he would think about pulling Wynn if he struggles again, Whittingham said, "We’ll think about replacing anybody who struggles and who’s not being productive."
The offense has been held to single digits in back to back games for the first time since 1990, and have scored a total of 10 points. Asked to pinpoint what has gone wrong, Whittingham said, "It’s across the board. We have to do a better job running routes. We're not getting open often enough, (be) more physical in the run game, got to be better up front opening holes. Through eight games we were doing things pretty well. All of a sudden we’re not so good. Obviously the level of competition is different week to week, but we’ve got to take care of ourselves and get corrections made within our own program and that’s Job 1 right now."
As for the key to getting his team back on track, Whittingham said it was important to remember what they have accomplished so far this season.
"We just have to get their confidence back," Whittingham said. "Based on the mentality, we have not lost this football team. The guys are still working hard, they’re giving great effort. Although our level of play is nowhere where it needs to be, we’re getting effort."