Here’s what’s going on inside Darnell’s head on Labor Day.
Since it is Labor Day, I am grateful to still have a job and that I get to do something I love for a living. Yeah, I didn’t get home from LaVell Edwards Stadium until 1:30 a.m. on Friday morning but I did get Tucanos for the pregame meal, and that’s a win any time.
A few more thoughts from the BYU-Utah game before we move on to Tennessee.
One of the biggest disappointments from that game was the Cougar offense, which has been touted by the coaches and players as explosive during practice this summer and fall. It was far less than that against the Utes.
BYU finished with 300 yards of offense but had just three explosive plays, which for this story are defined as runs of 12 or more yards and passes of 25 or more yards: A 26-yard pass reception by Matt Bushman, an 18-yard run by Ty’Son Williams and a 26-yard scramble by Zach Wilson.
It didn’t help that the defense allowed three long Utah drives in the second half. There was no way for the offense to get into a rhythm standing on the sideline. Based on just one game, the Utah defense is pretty good. We need more data to see if BYU’s offense is going to be better than it was on Thursday.
The other big disappointment was that the Cougars turned in another poor performance against a Power Five team at LaVell Edwards Stadium. Since becoming independent in 2011, BYU is just 5-8 against teams from P5 conferences at home. Over that same period, the Cougars are 36-14 at LES overall but just 5-8 at home in the past three seasons.
Priority 1 needs to be defending the house that LaVell built.
As for Tennessee, the Vols were shocked at home on Saturday by Sun Belt member Georgia State 38-30. The Vols managed just 93 rushing yards, turned the ball over three times and allowed 17 fourth-quarter points in losing its first home opener since 1983. Neyland Stadium seats 102,455 but announced attendance was 85,503 and many had left by the time Georgia State celebrated the win.
What we know about Saturday is it’s a matchup of two angry, bloodied teams desperate for a win.
One Taysom is enough
Why is everyone trying to make Jaren Hall the next Taysom Hill?
There’s only one Taysom Hill.
Hall is certainly athletic but he’s a quarterback, a thrower, a passer first. He’s similar in style to the guy he’s competing with, Zach Wilson, in his skill set. Those who think the Cougars need to use Hall as a utility offensive player need to slow their roll a bit.
This is not just because he bobbled a snap and lost 12 yards on a critical play from the Wildcat formation against Utah.
When I first saw Hall compete for Maple Mountain High School, what impressed me most wasn’t his considerable athleticism. It was his moxie in the pocket. The way he stood in and threw the ball, or bought time to allow a receiver to get open. I saw a quarterback first, a great athlete next.
Hill has proven at the NFL level that he is a special athlete. If anyone could do what Hill does, don’t you think there would be more of them around the league? Hill’s type doesn’t come along very often.
What I’m trying to say is that Hill is one-of-a-kind. Hall has four years to make his name at BYU and he doesn’t need comparisons to Hill right now. He needs to learn and grow as a quarterback.
Leave him in
According to Saints Wire, Hill lined up in at least seven different positions last season for the Saints: 64 snaps at quarterback, 62 at tight end, 43 at wide receiver, 28 at slot receiver, 13 at halfback/fullback, 199 on kickoff coverage/return, 119 on punt coverage/return and 69 on field goal block.
That’s a busy guy.
I’m not crying,
I’ve been watching episodes of ABC’s “What Would You Do?” host John Quinones sets up scenarios with actors, such as a man harassing a waitress or an elderly man who is struggling to count his change in line at the grocery store, to see what people will do.
On one hand, it renews my faith in humanity when I see the acts of kindness that so many folks are willing to share. The only problem is that my family sees my tearing up and I don’t think they are buying the “something got in my eye” excuse anymore.
Sleeping cures all ills
The Stanford Sleep Disorder Clinic and Research Laboratory did a recent study where the increased the average sleep time of the men’s basketball team from 6.6 hours a night to 8.5 over a two-month period. The results were astonishing: A 5% improvement in speed, a 9% increase in free throw percentage and a 9.2% increase in three-point percentage.
My first thought was “BYU spent millions of dollars on the Marriott Center Annex practice facility when all they needed to do was to tell their players to get more sleep.” Since the Annex opened in February of 2017, the Cougars have shot .344 (2016-17), .347 (2017-18) and .330 (2018-19) from beyond the arc.
If I were Mark Pope, I would institute nap time immediately.
With Dave Rose’s retirement as the BYU men’s basketball coach, his staff has moved on as well. I always feel for assistants when their head coach is fired, retires or takes a new job. Assistants often have to find work elsewhere and figure out a way to move their family. Plus, these guys aren’t making the big salaries like their head coaches.
Lee Cummard simply moved to a different office in the same building and took a job as an assistant for Jeff Judkins and the BYU women’s basketball team. Former director of basketball operations Andrew May landed at Dixie State with Jon Judkins and Quincy Lewis is the athletic director at his alma mater, Timpview High School. Tim LaComb has left coaching and is working as a sales director for Visible Supply Chain Management, according to Linkedin.
Any day now
The BYU men’s basketball schedule has yet to be released. This is the latest I can ever remember not knowing the Cougars preseason schedule. My thought is that behind the scenes the BYU coaches are trying their best to reschedule a couple of teams so the nine-game suspension of Yoeli Childs by the NCAA is as painless as possible.
That’s all for now, but for this: When people tell me “You’re going to regret that in the morning” I sleep in until noon because I’m a problem solver.
Have a great Labor Day and a terrific week. You deserve it.