ANN ARBOR - Michigan coach Brady Hoke regards the bye week as a bit of a double-edged sword.
On one hand, it’s a chance for his staff and for his players to get mentally refreshed, or to get a little extra time to heal from injuries.
On the other hand, it’s hard for a coaching staff to evaluate all facets of its team until it actually sets foot on the field again for competition.
“You never know when a good bye week is, when it’s not a good bye week,” Hoke said Monday. “I don’t think you really know that until you go through it.
“I think it was good because of the productivity that we got from having the bye week. I’d hope we’d have that productivity any time the bye week was, but I think we got to re-evaluate where we’re at and what we want to do.”
The Wolverines (2-2) open their Big Ten schedule at 4 p.m. Saturday at Purdue and at first glance, it appears that Michigan’s bye week fell at an ideal time, a week after a 13-6 loss to No. 9 Notre Dame and prior to the start of the Big Ten slate
Having a weekend away from football meant a chance for some of the freshmen to return home, as some hadn’t been away from campus for non-football related reasons since the end of June. It meant a chance for some of Michigan’s upperclassmen to catch up on their sleep and their schoolwork, as well as other happenings around the Big Ten.
“I watched Purdue, and then I also watched Michigan State-Ohio State, Nebraska-Wisconsin, little bits and pieces here and there,” Michigan left tackle Taylor Lewan said. “It was cool to be a fan. It was nice to sit down and watch the rest of your conference and watch them compete. I’m excited to get back in it and get into the Big Ten season ourselves.”
Despite battling some congestion and the sniffles on Monday, Lewan saw the weekend off as a boon, personally.
“It was a good opportunity to rest your body,” Lewan said. "I feel healthy, I feel energized. It was good time for a bye week."
Defensive end Craig Roh agreed.
“I feel very rested, rejuvenated,” Roh said. “The defense, we had a couple different practices and I think we made even more strides on our technique.”
But the week off wasn't without some intensity. Michigan's starters practiced against each other as a way to simulate game speed and game situations.
“It just sharpens you,” Roh said. “We have a lot of guys on offense who are great players, and it just keeps you where you need to be at to play at a very high level.”
Hoke said that ultimately he’ll rely on hindsight to determine the benefit - or the drawback - of having the last weekend in September off.
“I don’t know when’s a good bye week,” Hoke said. “I really don’t. This one could be timed well. But we’ll know eight weeks from now.”
INJURY REPORT: Michigan announced Monday that defensive lineman Nathan Brink will be out indefinitely after suffering an undisclosed injury last week in practice. Brink has played in four games this season, registering two tackles. Hoke said he expects defensive end Brennen Beyer (knee) to return Saturday against the Boilermakers. Hoke said tight end Brandon Moore (MCL strain) is “close,” nose tackle Richard Ash (undisclosed injury) “is better,” fullback Stephen Hopkins (undisclosed injury) is “fine” and wide receiver Devin Gardner (shoulder) is “fine.” The five practiced Sunday, and Hoke said offensive guard Ricky Barnum also had shoulder soreness but practiced Sunday.
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