Here’s what’s going on inside Darnell’s head as I try to figure out who those guys in the BYU uniforms were last night.

A step forward

One of the more common refrains of BYU fans during this up-and-down football season is, “The Cougars play up or down to their competition.”

Yeah, maybe. But I think last night’s upset of No. 14 (now No. 22) Boise State was more a product of some interesting changes in coaching staff duties and a renewed effort by the players to get stuff done.

Head coach Kalani Sitake wouldn’t talk about those changes after the game but it was obvious they made a huge difference. The offensive play-calling was more aggressive. We saw less RPOs and more progressive play-calling. We saw some chances being taken. On defense we saw more pressures and the Cougar defenders broke up a lot of passes.

I know, I know, the BYU defense played not to lose in the fourth quarter and the Cougar offense got most of their yards in the third. So there is still a lot to work on during the bye week.

Consider this: BYU is 3-4 with a seven-point loss to Toledo and a four-point loss to South Florida. Yeah, those two teams got worked on Saturday by Ball State (52-14) and Navy (35-3), respectively, but this coaching staff was within a play or two of winning both of those games. The Cougars would be 4-2 right now with losses to Utah and Washington.

What I’m saying is these guys are close to getting it right.

It also seems to me that the coaching staff put aside their egos and accepted whatever assignments they were given for the good of the team against Boise State. I know there are those who think Sitake should be canned but remember that if he loses his job, so do his assistants. Those guys would rather not have to look for new jobs.

It’s also encouraging that BYU’s best two performances this season came at LaVell Edwards Stadium (USC and Boise State). For a number of years, that hasn’t been the case. If the Cougars can start recapturing some of that home magic, it’s a very good thing.

I’m going to enjoy a less toxic environment on social media during the bye week.

Here’s the scoop

I’ve had some emails and questions about the lack of BYU Olympic sports being televised on BYUtv this fall, and here’s what I found out.

BYUtv has committed to a bunch of new shows and programming themes, so only football and men’s basketball broadcasts will consistently preempt those shows. Other sports — men’s and women’s volleyball, women’s soccer, women’s basketball, baseball, softball — will only occasionally preempt those shows but can always be found on the digital platforms for BYUtv (the website or the app).

If you want to voice your opinion, I’ll happily provide some contact info for you: BYUtv’s phone number is 866-662-9888 and its email is byutv@byu.edu. You can also give feedback on the website (byutv.org/contact).

Adding it up

The new RPI format for the high school playoffs has its flaws. The biggest is sending teams with zero wins to the playoffs. In fact, Cottonwood (0-10) petitioned to withdraw from the playoffs in 5A and was granted that request.

Riley Jensen, an assistant coach at Alta, pointed out this week that if the Hawks were to advance to the state championship, they would play five games to get there. That’s half the season and that’s what happens when you reward everyone with a state tournament berth.

Also, the RPI standings are updated throughout the year but in the final week are taken completely off the website to build drama. Really? Coaches have to hate that. Since the beginning of time they’ve been able to follow the standings and figure out who they might be playing in the first round of the playoffs. If you want to drive traffic to your website, UHSAA, for the final reveal, fine. But don’t take the previous RPI off your website completely. That’s just dumb.

Wake up call

My wife and I had a great time at the Huntsman World Senior Games in St. George last week. We stayed at an Airbnb, which was fine but for one thing.

At 6 in the morning, every morning, an honest-to-goodness rooster cock-a-doodle-doo’d to bring in the day. And continued to crow throughout the morning.

Let’s goooooo!

Former BYU linebacker Bryan Kehl was sitting in the press box on Saturday. After BYU’s first interception, Kehl started to cheer. Of course, that’s frowned upon in the press box. They even make an announcement before the game stating the rules.

Actually, I don’t mind. Kehl can cheer as much as he wants. He’s a former player with passion for the game and for the program. It’s the “fans” in the press box that are irritating.

Staying awake

Are you going to Midnight Madness?

It’s a new event the men’s and women’s basketball teams are putting on this Tuesday night, trying to increase fan excitement for the upcoming season. That’s way past my bedtime and I haven’t made up my mind if I will be there. I didn’t get much beauty sleep in St. George, you know.

What was I doing?

On YouTube, I find myself getting bored about a minute into just about any video. Oh, man, I’ve developed the attention span of my young adult kids. Somebody send help.

That’s all, but for this: A reader sent me an email that began with “I’ve been reading your articles for years but just recently I’ve found them to be very entertaining.”

Uh, thanks? Sure am glad I turned the corner on that.

Have a great week.

Follow Darnell Dickson on Twitter @darnellwrites or e-mail him at ddickson@heraldextra.com.

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