First day of 2018 BYU football spring camp 11

BYU offensive coordinator Jeff Grimes (left) talks to quarterback Beau Hoge during BYU's first practice of its 2018 spring camp in Provo on March 5, 2018.

Here’s what’s going on inside Darnell’s head.

You can’t go wrong with grandma’s recipe for taco casserole on a Sunday afternoon. Just sayin’.

Goodbye and thanks for everything

College football coaching is a really bizarre business.

It’s certainly volatile and unpredictable, especially for assistant coaches. The head coaches get the millions and the ridiculous guaranteed contracts. When there is a coaching move, the assistants are left scrambling for whatever they can find.

There were a lot of positive texts and messages for BYU offensive coordinator Jeff Grimes when he took the same position at Baylor last week. Nobody is going to begrudge Grimes for taking the money and the job with a Power Five team.

But I wonder if Kalani Sitake and Cougar Nation are feeling so magnanimous now that Grimes is raiding the Cougar coaching staff? On Friday, Grimes nabbed BYU offensive line coach Eric Mateos for the same job on his staff at Baylor.

Again, it’s a step up for Mateos, both in pay and in prestige. Who wouldn’t take the job?

But it was Sitake who gave Grimes his first shot at offensive coordinator after 23 years as an assistant. What’s the unwritten rule about reaching back into your former coaching staff?

What’s to stop Grimes from making a play for quarterbacks coach Aaron Roderick, or receivers coach Fesi Sitake or running backs coach Harvey Unga? What about contacting BYU offensive linemen who might like an opportunity to play for a P5 team?

Grimes wants to build the best offense he can, just like when he showed up in Provo. And of course, he originally wanted Ryan Pugh for the O-line job at Baylor but the day after announcing the hire, the Bears said they were going in a different direction.

Yeah, like I said, college football coaching is a very tough business.

What is that?

Embarrassment alert: When I was in a church meeting today the guy next to me said I had paint on my suit jacket collar. Another person at the meeting speculated it was bird poop. When I checked it out in the bathroom, it was toothpaste.

The good husband that I am, I brushed my teeth in the kitchen sink instead of the bathroom sink Sunday morning so I wouldn’t make a lot of noise and wake up my wife, who was sleeping in.

As you can tell, I like to brush aggressively.

Do you hear what I hear?

With all the alone time brought on by the pandemic I’m getting a little tired of the playlists on my phone. What’s the one group or singer in your music library that people may not know but you love?

Mine is Donnie Iris, a little-known ’80’s singer whose only hit was “Ah, Leah” in 1981. Our high school football team used to listen to his music before games and I ended up buying just about every album he ever made.

Moving up anyway

Losing to No. 1 Gonzaga wasn’t pretty for the BYU men’s basketball team.

It would have taken the Cougars’ best game of the season to beat the Zags and Thursday night definitely wasn’t it.

It should be noted that BYU is 6-18 against Gonzaga since joining the West Coast Conference. Saint Mary’s is 6-19. The rest of the conference’s seven teams has posted a 3-128 record against the ’Zags.

The Cougars actually moved up in the NET and most other metrics by losing by 17 points to No. 1 Gonzaga.

BYU faces a really big test this week traveling to Saint Mary’s and San Francisco, the next two toughest opponents in the WCC.

Wild-card weekend

So how much of the 24 hours of NFL football playoffs did you watch this weekend? I got in about four hours worth. When I was a kid, I would have seriously watched all 24 hours, provided the games were televised on one of the 2 ½ channels we had. Those were the days.

Wolverine wishes

The Western Athletic Conference is getting back into the football business.

The league disbanded in 2012 after 50 years. BYU has some pretty good seasons in the WAC back in the ’90’s. It appears Southern Utah and Dixie State will join some of the smaller Texas schools to play some football in 2022.

I saw where some ambitious soul posted on social media some ideas for Utah Valley University football uniforms.

Look, I would love for there to be more opportunities for local athletes to play college football. But it ain’t happening.

Actually, Qualtrics billionaire Ryan Smith has already purchased the Jazz and is looking to buy Real Salt Lake. How about a few hundred thousand so UVU can start up a football program?

Fred is the man

Pretty cool that Fred Warner was named an NFL All-Pro last week.

The former BYU standout and current San Francisco 49er is considered one of the best linebackers in the game. He was pretty good as a Cougar but few really expected him to be elite at the next level.

As a dozen BYU football players prepare for their pro football auditions — be they draft choices or free agents – just remember how difficult it is for anyone to make an NFL roster.

By the way, does Zach Wilson need a live-in journalist to document his training? He posted a video on Instagram of the place he will live while he trains and it is posh.

Curious basketball stat of the day

Back in December, Arizona transfer Emmanuel Akot broke BYU fans’ hearts with a clutch 3-pointer in the final minute as Boise State held off a tremendous Cougar rally for a 74-70 win in the Marriott Center.

Akot, who prepped at Wasatch Academy, is just 6 of 30 (20%) from the 3-point line this season.

That’s the game, folks.

Bias exists

Jeff Goodman at recently ranked the Top 30 NBA prospects in college basketball. No surprise that a couple of Gonzaga players — freshman Jalen Suggs and senior Corey Kispert — were ranked in that list. Suggs, in fact, was No. 1.

But there’s plenty of Power Five bias in the list, too.

Goodman ranks three – THREE! – freshmen from Kentucky in his Top 30. Yes, the same Kentucky team that lost six games in a row in the preseason and needed double overtime to beat Mississippi State in its SEC opener.

Hey, I have a question. If those players are so darn good WHY IS KENTUCKY JUST 4-6?

Live and learn

A thoughtful and sobering post this week on Twitter from @natehowe as our nation tries to tear itself apart.

“Me, reading the end of the Book of Mormon 25 years ago: ‘How could these previously peaceful people become so divided that they would choose mutual annihilation instead of compromise?’

Me now: ‘Oh.’”

That’s all for now, but for this: An old adage says by the time a man is wise enough to watch his step, he’s too old to go anywhere.

During these COVID times, don’t let that stop you from getting out and having fun.

Treat each other kindly, mask up and have a wonderful week.

Follow Darnell Dickson on Twitter @darnellwrites or e-mail him at

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