BYU Men's volleyball vs. Ohio State 22

Brigham Young University outside hitter Jon Stanley (4) celebrates with his teammates after the Cougars swept the Ohio State University Buckeyes in BYU's season-opener Thursday, Jan. 10, 2019, at Smith Fieldhouse in Provo. Isaac Hale, Daily Herald

Here’s what’s going on inside Darnell’s head. Life can be subtle, you know? For instance, correct punctuation: The difference between a sentence that is well-written and a sentence that is, well, written.


ty of success

I really feel for BYU football and men’s basketball fans. Neither program is having the kind of success they have experienced in the past. But if those same fans would open their eyes a bit, they would see some very, very good Cougar programs that are consistently competing at a national level.

BYU was fifth in the final fall Learfield Directors’ Cup Standings, just behind Stanford, Michigan, Penn State and Wisconsin. Women’s volleyball, women’s soccer and cross country produced memorable seasons.

If Director of Athletics Tom Holmoe is being criticized for the failures of football and men’s basketball, he needs to be commended for the success of many other teams in the athletic program. It’s only fair, right?


k You for the Music’

I came across a documentary on the 1970s super group Abba on YouTube the other day and I may or may not have spent the next two hours jumping from one Abba music video to another.



It may seem like there are a lot of BYU football players opting to leave the program in the past few weeks and entering the transfer portal, but it’s just part of the process. There are more than 120 athletes in a college football program at any given time and only 30 or 40 actually see the field in a given season. Players want to play, it’s that simple. Fans shouldn’t take it personally when a player decides to look for somewhere they can get on the field.

The transfer portal is just a place where player and program can match up. If you’re a quarterback, you can look and see which teams need quarterbacks. If you’re a team in need of linebackers, you can see which linebackers are transferring. It seems an efficient way to find the right place to land.


you don’t have it

If I see one more movie where a TV reporter says, “There you have it,” I’m going to lose it. No reporter worth their makeup and blue blazer would ever use that stupid phrase in a live shot.



is warm again

An early front-runner for funniest quote by a BYU athlete: Cougar volleyball player and Puerto Rican Gabi Garcia Fernandez saying he was going to give his roommate, Italian Davide Gardini, “a thousand kisses” after Gardini’s debut performance in a win against Ohio State.

Must be a foreign thing.

I found it interesting that BYU men’s volleyball coach Shawn Olmstead said he had talked to his team about riding the momentum of the women’s program, which was ranked No. 1 most of the fall and advanced to the Final Four.

“I think there is a lot of energy and a great vibe right now to roll off of what the women’s program has done,” said Olmstead, whose sister, Heather, is the women’s coach. “We’ve been saying that the past few weeks. During that exciting season they had, the fans during that run were phenomenal.”

It should also be noted that on a night the Cougar basketball team put 10,733 in the Marriott Center, the men’s volleyball team drew 4,277 to the Smith Fieldhouse.

“It’s kind of a bummer to go head-to-head with those guys (basketball), but I feel like we have a great core of a volleyball community and we’ve built that into a volleyball school,” Shawn Olmstead said. “Those guys showed up. We can’t thank them enough for showing up on Thursday night to welcome these boys to the court.”


l steps

The BYU men’s basketball team took care of business at home and beat both Portland and Santa Clara last week. I thought their defensive effort was better and more sustained. It was important that young players such as Gavin Baxter and Rylan Bergersen played good minutes. Depth is going to be important in the next few weeks as the Cougars will play at Pepperdine and San Francisco before returning home for Saint Mary’s and Gonzaga.


or image

My wife and I were looking for a movie to watch the other night and settled on “Cellular” from 2004, starring a very young Captain America (Chris Evans). I found it pretty funny that Rick Hoffman, who has played a sarcastic, arrogant lawyer on the TV show “Suits” since 2011, played a sarcastic, arrogant lawyer in “Cellular.” I mean, it was the exact same character. I wonder if he just showed the producers of “Suits” the clip from “Cellular” for his audition.


eding expectations

I’m a little surprised that the BYU women’s basketball team is 6-0 in West Coast Conference play and 14-3 overall. The Cougars are very young with only two seniors and rely on a lot of underclassmen.

Their guard line is one of the best in the West and sophomore Paisley Johnson, who scored 24 in a win at Pacific and 25 in a win at Saint Mary’s, is your likely WCC Player of the Week. It’s a good sign that BYU is 4-0 on the road in conference play already. Getting road wins in league play is usually a struggle with a young team, but the Cougars are getting it done.

A big one is coming up on Thursday with Gonzaga, which was ranked No. 14 last week and is also unbeaten at 5-0 in the WCC.

That’s it for now. I got a new universal remote control this weekend and thought, “This changes everything.”

Have a great week.

Darnell Dickson, who has been covering sports in Utah since 1989 (with a detour to Nebraska for three years somewhere in there), is currently the BYU football columnist and BYU men’s basketball beat writer.

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