For junior quarterback Brock Osweiler and the Arizona State football team, this week's bye couldn't come at a better time. After all, is there a better prescription after a 41-27 nationally televised loss to Oregon than seven days off?
"You need breaks throughout the football season just to stay fresh," Osweiler said. "This week is a big mental week for us."
And by mental, Oz means spending a majority of their time in the film room as the second and third stringers get a majority of the reps in practice. But this "mental week" is doubly beneficial for the Sun Devils as the starters get to rest up for the first time in seven weeks.
"We've being going at it since August 1," Osweiler said. "This is the first significant break we've had."
Head coach Dennis Erickson realizes its importance too.
"It kind of depends on when your bye week is," Erickson said. "This late, you just try to get healthy."
That's exactly why Erickson called this week a "get our legs back" period. Junior running back Cameron Marshall is still nursing an ankle injury after playing at "75-80 percent" during the Oregon game. While he was still able to muster up 97 yards and one touchdown on 20 carries, a week off is essential for Marshall as the running game slowly gets back in sync.
And for the first time in seven weeks, Erickson is getting some good injury news. Sophomore defensive end Junior Onyeali will "without a doubt" play in next weeks home game against Colorado, cutting almost two weeks off his previous timetable of six weeks after knee surgery.
Also, while he hasn't put a time table on Omar Bolden's return, the fact that he's back on the practice field is an encouraging sign he might provide a late season spark.
For now though, the backups are getting a hearty serving of reps and that's what matters most.
"We've been beat up a little but it's good for us to get a chance to get a look at our freshmen," Erickson said.
With five games left on the schedule against teams the Devils "should" beat, Erickson isn't using the time off to make any radical changes to the way the team plays. This break is about rest and recuperation.
Now let's just hope none of the newbies get hurt.