The CSU football team is coming off of a bye week for the first time since early September of 2008.
Thatâ€™s 39 consecutive regular-season games.
The rare week off gives the Rams a chance to heal some injuries and get inexperienced players some repetitions they wouldnâ€™t get in a normal week.
â€œYou figure a week like this helps somebody like Nuku (Latu),â€ coach Steve Fairchild said. â€œIt gives you a chance to get a guy back and in the areas where weâ€™re not getting a hurt guy back â€“â€“ it allows you another couple of practices to get them ready.â€
Latu missed the loss against San Jose State University with a knee injury. During the bye week, he returned to practice in full pads, albeit with a red, non-contact jersey that injured players wear.
In addition to healing players, the rest allows the players that carry the heaviest workload to get some time off.
â€œThereâ€™s certain guys that are a little banged up that probably wonâ€™t take as many reps, then thereâ€™s guys we want to take a look at,â€ Fairchild said. â€œAny of the guys that are established starters probably arenâ€™t going to take as many reps as that next line of guys.â€
Keeping some of the starters on the sidelines during practice gives a chance for young players that are redshirting this season a chance to get valuable reps.
Those players that wonâ€™t see action for CSU this season are usually charged with running a scout team that mimics that weekâ€™s opponent, but during the bye week they were all able to get valuable practice time that will help prepare them for a bigger role in years to come.
An often overlooked benefit of the bye week is the chance to reestablish a high fitness level.
â€œFrom the strength and conditioning side, I establish what we do early on (in fall camp),â€ said strength and conditioning coach Greg Scanlan. â€œThis week actually we push them a little harder in the weight room. We do a little more volume, a little more intensity to try and gain back some of that strength weâ€™ve lost in the first five weeks of the season.â€
Following the extra work in the weight room during the bye week, the players had their final practice of the week early Friday morning before being given the rest of the weekend off.
The rare two-plus days off gives the team time to physically and mentally regroup before beginning preparations for No. 5 Boise State University on Saturday.
It also gives players from out-of-town a rare, in-season chance to go home and visit family and friends.
â€œA bye is good and bad. When youâ€™re playing well you donâ€™t want a bye,â€ Scanlan said. â€œAfter last weekendâ€™s debacle, itâ€™s probably not a bad thing to have a bye to let everybody reassess themselves mentally.â€
Assistant Sports Editor Kevin Lytle can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.