Inside Darnell’s Head: Some fans still believe in the BYU football team

September 11, 2017

Here’s what’s going on inside Darnell’s head as the weather cools just a bit in the prelude for winter.

So my colleague at the Daily Herald, Jared Lloyd, and I stood in the parking lot of LaVell Edwards Stadium late Saturday night after the BYU-Utah game talking about what we’d just seen.

Yeah, we didn’t come up with any solutions, either.

You gotta believe BYU allows the media access to the sidelines at about the four-minute mark of the fourth quarter. I stood in the south end zone and watched as the Cougars made a defensive stop to earn one last chance to catch Utah.

Trailing by six points, BYU took over inside its own 10-yard line with 1:34 to play. A BYU fan in the south end zone was trying to get the attention of a group of police officers standing in that corner of the field.

“You know Kalani wants us down there, right?” the man asked. “You know he wants us down there.”

The man’s hope was, of course, that the Cougars would drive down and score to win the game, followed by a traditional storming of the field endorsed by BYU coach Kalani Sitake.

That didn’t happen, but I appreciate the guy’s enthusiasm.

After three games, we know a few things about this BYU team. One, the defense is pretty good. And two, the offense simply wasn’t ready for the kind of tests it was going to face against LSU and Utah.

I’m not sure when they will be.

Full disclosure: My column was due at 11:15 p.m. on Saturday for the print edition of the Daily Herald. At 11:15, most of the fourth quarter was still on the clock. At the time I felt like BYU really had no chance to win the game, and darned if they didn’t make things a little bit interesting at the end.

Can I take some positives from the Utah game?


Here goes: The offense looked a little bit better in the fourth quarter, jump-started by the sudden ability to run with freshman Ula Tolutau. Tanner Mangum was a bit sharper in the fourth quarter in the pass game when BYU went tempo and no-huddle, but Utah was in a bit of a prevent defense, as well.

The defense gave up a lot of yards but made plays in key situations and forced three turnovers. Should have been enough to finally break the Utes winning streak in the series.

It wasn’t.

Oh, and other than the botched field goal in the first half, the Cougar special teams were very effective.

Those things can be built upon, even with Top 10 Wisconsin coming to LES next week.

He’s the man

BYU’s offensive coordinator has always been one of the toughest jobs in college football.

Think of Norm Chow, Gary Crowton and Robert Anae. When the offense works, they are loved. When it struggles, we want their heads.

I’m willing to give Ty Detmer some more time to make his pro-style offense work, but it is puzzling that the two quarterbacks he’s had to trigger the BYU offense (Taysom Hill in 2016 and now Tanner Mangum) have looked so much more comfortable in the two-minute drill than at most times during the game.

That’s not on the call sheet

The Mississippi State-Louisiana Tech game on Saturday featured something you don’t see every day.

Due to a fumble near the Mississippi State goal line that actually traveled backwards 87 yards, Louisiana Tech faced a third and 93 yards to do.

Not even Crowton at his genius, beautiful-mind best could have picked that one up.


Why is it I can remember the trombone solo I played my junior year in high school at a jazz contest but I can’t remember where I put my car keys?

And yes, I checked the microwave and the fridge.

No, I’m not kissing my sister

The advantage of covering the BYU women’s soccer team this season is that I have become a master at writing about ties.

The Cougars have three draws already in 2017 and it’s a real test of my journalism skills to write a story where there isn’t a result.

I’ve heard the arguments from soccer purists about why ties aren’t so bad, but here’s my final thought on the subject: After watching BYU and Utah battle for 110 minutes and end up with a 1-1 tie I just feel like both sides played way too hard to not get a decision.

They deserve a result. That’s all I’m saying.


The BYU women’s volleyball team won’t be undefeated heading into their showdown with Utah on Thursday since the Cougars (8-1) dropped a 3-2 decision to Baylor in Hawaii on Saturday.

Still, Thursday’s match will feature two ranked teams. BYU will be looking for revenge after Utah upset the Cougars in the Smith Fieldhouse last season. It’ll be a good one if you can make it to the Huntsman Center.

Finally, just a pointer for you all you married guys: When your wife tells you she’s going to get her eyelashes done, and when she returns you say “Your eyeBROWS look great,” you’ve really stepped in it now.

Have a great week.