Penn State Football: Bye Week A Valuable Time For Coaches And Players
Coming off of a bye week can bring the best out of team. Extra time to heal injuries and to watch film on the upcoming opponent can make the bye the most important seven days of the season.
For Penn State, the Nittany Lions are fortunate to have two bye weeks within a three week span. It makes the stretch of 21 days crucial not only for the game following each bye, but the remainder of the season as well. Interestingly, head coach Bill O'Brien uses the extra time to scout his own team almost as much as he scouts the next opponent on the schedule.
"Bye weeks are important," O'Brien says. "We have two this year; we just had our first one. Bye weeks are important for many different reasons. Number one, our staff can get together and look at the things that we have done in the first four weeks.
"Your team's identity is pretty much formed after the first four weeks so you can look at things like heavy tendencies and different areas of the field or down and distances and whatever you may have tendency wise and try to correct those. You can look at individual players and figure out what we have to do during the bye week to try to get these guys better.
"You can look at your team and say, you know what, we're going to scrimmage our younger guys at the end of every practice and improve the depth on our team, improve these younger players not only this year but for the future.
"Bye weeks are important, and I think we had a productive bye week. Again, how productive was the bye week, the proof is in the pudding on Saturday against Indiana.
"It was important for everybody, coaches included, to take a step back and analyze everything and also for your guys to be able to practice without the pressure of having a game on Saturday and then to be able at the end of the week to go home. A lot of those guys were able to go home and see their families and things like that, or if the guys stayed on campus they were able to chill out because they didn't have any football responsibilities.
"So bye weeks are good, and obviously you gotta give guys that are banged up a chance to heal, too."
Penn State will need to have made the most of the days off, Indiana boasts one of the top scoring offenses in the nation.
- Linebacker Mike Hull is full go and should be ready for the game on Saturday.
- State College native fullback Jack Haffner will likely miss this weekend's game due to an ankle sprain.
- Safety Ryan Keiser will miss this weekend's game with a hand injury. O'Brien expects him to make a possible return against Michigan
- With Keiser out -- he's kicker Sam Ficken's usual holder -- it brings in punter Alex Butterworth to do the holding duties. O'Brien doesn't see that as an issue because Alex holds for Sam in practice while Keiser is working at safety.
- Penn State announced that the Homecoming game between Michigan and Penn State is a sellout.