Why the Bye Week is Beneficial

Sooners Illustrated examines five reasons why the 5-0 Sooners' idle week comes at the perfect time.

1. Health recovery--The Sooners will get a number of guys back that have been banged up early in the season, perhaps the biggest of which is linebacker Austin Box , who has recovered from a disc issue in his back. Freshmen running backs Roy Finch and Brennan Clay will return as well. Finch was battling a hairline ankle fracture, and Clay suffered a concussion against Florida State. And a few other guys have been nicked up but will get valuable healing time. The only guy who won't return is defensive tackle Casey Walker , who is still fighting a sprained left knee.

2. A break from the mental and physical pressure of the first five games--If someone had said coming in that four of the first five games would be determined by one possession and FSU wouldn't have been one of them, not many people would have believed it. In fact, not many people would have guessed four of these games would have been that close in general. But that's what has happened, and as valuable as it has been, OU needs some time to not be in a close game for a week. Not playing gives the Sooners just that opportunity.

3. Time to game-plan for future contests--Let's be honest. The Sooners can say they're only thinking about the next opponent on their schedule, and they basically are, but this extra week does give them an opportunity to look ahead to Missouri and use a few days to game-plan for that contest. Iowa State at home shouldn't be too much of a battle after the break, so OU could use this time to look at Missouri, their next road game.

4. Getting the youth more work before the rest of the conference season--Yes, OU has made it through the first and biggest game of the conference schedule, but that doesn't mean there aren't a ton more land mines out there, including games at No. 21 Oklahoma State, No. 22 Missouri and Texas A&M (not in that particular order). And given the amount of freshmen the Sooners have worked into the rotation, a week off can only better the preparation and familiarity for these youngsters within the system in order to get through these tough stretches of conference play.

5. Ability to fix defensive problems--Whatever issues the Sooner defense has had, this time off will give them a chance to fix them. Defensive coordinator Brent Venables and the rest of the defense will be able to use this couple weeks to evaluate what needs to be different when they take the field throughout the rest of the year.

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