Here’s what’s going on inside Darnell’s head with less than four weeks to go until the BYU-Utah football game. As summer begins to wind down, I’m reminded that money talks. But all mine ever says is “Goodbye.”



First impressions after the first few days of BYU football fall camp?

There is an abundance of confidence.

Not just confidence that is born from simply the start of a new season but confidence that they — the coaches and the players — have put in the work and made the right moves since ending last season with a win in the Potato Bowl. Much of that confidence comes from sophomore quarterback Zach Wilson but there are numerous other leaders on the team who are taking leadership roles as well. I believe this team is better prepared and deeper for the unique challenges of an independent schedule.

There have been a lot of close losses during Kalani Sitake’s tenure. Confidence could make the difference in a couple of extra victories this season.

Obviously, at this point every team is undefeated and the hype machine always rolls forward, so believe what you want.

Sitake said after the first day he was happy with the way his guys were working. When he told his wife, Timberly, she asked why he looked so disappointed. Kalani said it was because he was trying to think of a way to make the next practice more difficult.

Through struggle, comes growth.

Sitake and the team still have a lot of work to do.

Oh, and by the way, if tight end Matt Bushman doesn’t get targeted at least 50 times this year, the coaches need their heads examined.


is the man

The best Twitter interaction of the summer was between former BYU safety Daniel Sorensen and those who know him.

As NFL training camp got underway, new Kansas City Chiefs safety Tyrann Mathieu tweeted, “Rooming with Dan Sorensen, I just know I won’t be getting my room checked this camp #DormLife”

Former Cougar and current Virginia assistant coach Vic So’oto referenced the movie “Remember the Titans” with his tweet: “Best dorm room since Gerry Bertier and Julius Campbell.”

Then former BYU offensive lineman Ryker Mathews: “Try having that dude as a roommate. Sprints around the house at 530 AM even when we didn’t have workouts.”

It’s good for a laugh, but also proof of how seriously committed Sorensen is at his craft. In 2017, Sorensen signed a four-year, $16 million contract with the Chiefs that included a $4 million signing bonus, so his approach has definitely paid off.


ing settled

The BYU men’s basketball team is preparing for its summer trip to Italy. The makeup of the roster is pretty clear right now with the addition of guard Alex Barcello, a transfer from the University of Arizona that was a former four-star recruit. He’ll have to sit out a year and will have two to play. Initial impressions is that Barcello has good ball handling and passing skills with flair to his game.

I’d be a little more comfortable with this roster if there was more size. Richard Harward and Wyatt Lowell — at 6-foot-11 and 6-10, respectively — are Utah Valley transfers who will have to sit out a year. I’ve heard that Harward may be seeking a waiver, but no decision has been made yet.

So aside from starters Yoeli Childs (6-8) and Gavin Baxter (6-9), the only true big on the 2019-20 roster is 6-9 sophomore Kolby Lee, who has yet to establish himself as a contributor.

I believe you need versatility on your roster because you play all kinds of teams. Some nights you won’t need a lot of bigs. But other nights — especially against P5 opponents — you do.


sure you stretch first

A few weeks ago, I took my sister to the Salt Lake City airport and on the return to Utah County I was listening to a song on the radio (“Always Something There to Remind Me” by 1980s group Naked Eyes, if it matters) and tapping my fingers to the beat on the steering wheel. My smartwatch suddenly chimed and said, “Good job exercising and staying active!”

Not sure how many calories you burn tapping your fingers, but I’ll take it.


most dominant sport on campus

BYU’s best women’s volleyball players have had a terrific summer.

Senior libero Mary Lake has been playing with the U.S. National Team all summer. Head coach Heather Olmstead and sophomore middle blocker Heather Gneiting went to Japan with the U.S. Collegiate National Team in May. Gneiting also played in the U20 World Championships in Mexico. Junior middle blocker Kennedy Eschenberg was tabbed to play for the Collegiate National Team in the World University Games in Italy.

All of it is very, very good experience against some of the best volleyball players in the world.

In addition, 2018 first team All-American Roni Jones-Perry, who has graduated, played for the U.S. Pan Am Cup team and signed a contract to play professional volleyball in Italy.

The men’s program has been well represented on the summer circuit as well. Former Cougars Ben Patch, Taylor Sander, Price Jarman and Jake Langlois have been working hard with Team USA. Current Cougar Davide Gardini starred for Italy in the FIVB U21 World Championships.

Pretty amazing what BYU has built in Provo with its volleyball programs, isn’t it?

That’s it for now, but for this. Did you know Wilson and I share a birthday month? My kids keep asking me what I want. How about a win over Utah to write about? I’ll probably settle for a Provo tubing trip and dinner at one of Texas Roadhouse. But I’m pretty sure I’ll get fun novelty T-shirt, too.

Kids are the best.

Have a great week.

Follow Darnell Dickson on Twitter

@darnellwrites or e-mail him at

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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