Nine games into the season and the Cougars are looking for some overall much needed physical recovery. Many of these Cougars have shouldered the load all season, and so a week to heal up is a welcomed sight.
“I have little bumps and bruises right now, so I’m loving the bye week,” said running back Jamaal Williams with a smile. “I think physically, everything will be taken care of by the time we start playing again.”
On the other side of the ball, linebacker Brandon Ogletree knows how Williams feels.
“Yeah, just the typical bumps and bruises, you know, nine games into the season without a bye week,” said Ogletree. “Every week just kind of adds up on itself, so it’s kind of nice to be able to relax a little and recover.”
The breathe-easy week comes after a very impressive offensive and defensive performance at Bobby Dodd Stadium. The Cougars put on a dominant show on the road against ACC foe Georgia Tech.
“Oh man, it was really gratifying,” said Ogletree. “Anytime you limit a really good offense like we did, I mean, it really just makes all the hard work during the week pay off just seeing everyone fly around and have fun.”
Prior to game, Coach Mendenhall promised his Cougars that if they gave it all they had, he would “take care of them” the following week.
“Yeah, I mean, it was a physical game going into it, and we came out of it with some bumps and bruises,” Ogletree said. “Coach kind of promised us that if we laid it all out on the line, that he would take care of us this week. He kept true on his promise right there.”
Does that mean steak dinners or the hiring of a team of massage therapists?
“I wish it was steak dinners,” said Ogletree with a laugh. “No, just lots of running and just not really any contact, and we just practice in helmets. That’s what’s nice about it.”
“Right now we’re just focusing on getting our priorities straight and practicing a little, but not hard, with the mindset of still working,” said Williams. “That’s what it mostly is for the bye week. It’s about not getting too relaxed because we have a game next week. The linemen, they have regeneration which is stretching and jogging around and things like that. Then the skill guys, we have skeli and seven-on-sevens and things like that we’re doing to make sure we stay fit and sharp on our game. It’s not a full, normal day of practice, but just to make sure we do something to stay fit.”
“We’ll practice a few more times during the week,” said Ogletree. “Mainly the focus is just kind of getting healthy, rejuvenating and coming back to play next week.
“Lots of individual work with the coaches just kind of fine-tuning some things. You know, obviously, there’s still some stuff we still need to work on, but the bye week is a week to recover to get ready to recover and get ready for next week.”
The week also includes less film work and a time to catch up on school work, Ogletree said.
So the Cougars will approach the bye week as a time for much needed catching up, whether physically, mentally or with school work. They better enjoy it, because next week Coach Mendenhall will probably have some things in store for them as they look to close out the season strong.
“We still have our goals,” Ogletree said. “I mean, Coach kind of showed us a few of the defensive rankings and showed us what teams are in front of us and pointed out, ‘Hey, you’re not number one in any of those.’ We still have our goals in front of us and we’re going to work like crazy like we always do.”