BYU football 2020 fall camp

BYU junior quarterback Zach Wilson throws a pass during the 2020 Cougar fall camp.

Here’s what’s going in inside Darnell’s head after fixing another game-winning Sunday dinner. I’m undefeated on Sundays (at least, my family says they like it each week, so I have that going for me). This week I did garlic chicken and potatoes.

Behind center

BYU has yet to announce a starting quarterback for Navy, though I’m pretty sure the coaches already know. Part of it is simply gamesmanship so as not to give away too much to the opposition, but surely no one will be surprised when junior Zach Wilson’s name is announced.

For the record, I like what Wilson brings to the table: Experience, a strong arm and a fearlessness to make plays. I’d like to see a little bit better decision making this year and I think he will show that.

The Cougars are blessed to have three very talented and proven quarterbacks on the roster this year. Jaren Hall is a tremendous athlete and Baylor Romney simply makes good throws in any situation. Hard to wrong with any of these guys but I think Wilson will get the first shot.

Looking at BYU’s schedule, I think there will be opportunities for Hall and Romney to get some quality snaps this year, too.

Let’s play ball

I spoke to BYU men’s basketball assistant Nick Robinson about scheduling last week and his answers didn’t provide a lot of specifics. The Pac-12 has decided not to play until Jan. 1, so that killed BYU games against Arizona State, Utah and Oregon. The Cougars are still scheduled to play in the Junkanoo Jam in the Bahamas.

Robinson said head coach Mark Pope wants to scheduling aggressively and get some Top 25 teams into the Marriott Center, which is going to be pretty difficult. Right now, everyone is sort of just waiting until mid-September when the NCAA decides on the timeline for practices and games.

I’m intrigued with the unique makeup of this roster and how leadership is established.

One thing Robinson said that I thought was interesting was that Pope helps his players lead in the way they know best. In other words, a guy who leads best by example isn’t going to be asked to be a vocal leader. Pope takes the natural approach to leadership.

With so many new players on the roster, I’ll be watching for who emerges as strong leaders.

Making it special

I just want to say it’s awesome to be covering high school sports right now and I’ve been really impressed with how much effort the administrations, teachers and coaches have put into making it work. You can really tell how important it is to these tireless advocates to creating the right environment for events to take place. There are plenty of states where fall sports have been canceled or postponed, and Utah should be proud of all the hard work taking place in this state so the games can go on.

Going on the road

BYU has opened as a 2.5 point underdog to Navy for their opener on Sept. 7.

That’s a good thing for the Cougars. Going on the road against a good team like Navy is a pretty difficult test and knowing you aren’t the favorite should provide plenty for BYU to prove.

What do I think about the Navy football team? They are extremely well coached and the triple option is a very tough offense to defend. I don’t think the Midshipmen will be quite as efficient on the offensive side because they have a new quarterback and timing is so important. But the Navy defense will be legit.

Let them in

We still haven’t heard how many fans — if any — will be allowed in LaVell Edwards Stadium for BYU’s Sept. 26 home opener against Troy. If the Cougars follow suit with other universities, it will be somewhere between 20% to 25% of capacity, or about 12,000-15,000 fans. I’m glad I’m not the one who has to decide who gets to attend the game. Certainly season ticket holders, but what about students?

Also in question is how many media members will be allowed to sit in the press box at LES, and very important decision such as whether or not Tucano’s is still the pregame meal.

Make your move

If you want to have a good week, try this: Dance like nobody is watching … because they aren’t, they’re all checking their smartphones.

Tuning in

According to Casey Lundquist at, the most watched BYU football game since going independent was the 2013 Fight Hunger Bowl on ESPN, which was viewed by 3.75 million. Last year’s game against USC (on ABC) drew 2.97 million.

BYU against Navy on ESPN for Labor Day? That could definitely blow past both of those marks.

Say it isn’t so

Last Friday would have been the first match of the season for BYU women’s volleyball. The women’s soccer team would normally have played a couple of games so far. I still can’t wrap my head around the fact that we won’t be watching either of those teams until (maybe) this spring.

Who do we have to talk to so some alumni and scrimmages can be telecast on BYUtv? How can we make that happen?

That’s all for now, but for this: At a recent Daily Herald staff meeting we were asked to share one good thing and one bad thing from our week. The good thing I shared was that BYU football was only a week or so away. The one bad thing was feeling a bit helpless as so many examples of social injustice show up all over the country. I’m not sure there is much an old guy like me can do, but in my little slice of heaven, I am committed to listening to others and doing my best to bring about change.

That’s all most of us can do. Mask up and have a great week.

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

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