Bye week prepares Lions for Florida Tech

The game of football becomes demanding on the physical and mental structures of coaches and players.

As a result, many teams schedule open weeks as a time to heal injuries, rest players and have an extra week of preparation for an upcoming opponent.

For UNA and head coach Bobby Wallace, the bye week taken after a 34-17 win against Mississippi College is a chance to rest and get healthy, but not much more.

“I don’t really see (the bye week) as either (an advantage or disadvantage),” Wallace said. “I think it could hurt you or help you depending on how you play next week. It gives us time to get healthy and refresh as a staff and as players.”

Teams who are coming off open weeks are often concerned if the week off helped or hurt their momentum, but Wallace said his team is not worried.

“We’ll get ready to play, and we will play the best we can, but I don’t think the bye week will have anything to do with it.”

Wallace said planning the positioning of a bye week before the season does not matter from a momentum standpoint, but when players are hurt, bye weeks help tremendously.

“If we could predict how many people would get hurt each week, you would want your bye week after that week,” Wallace said. “You never know. You could have five people hurt and the bye week comes at a perfect time. That’s really all a bye week does.”

UNA had one key injury Sept. 12 against the Choctaws, senior defensive back Darvell Harris.

Harris, who had an interception in the season opener against Miles College, left the game in the first half with an apparent shoulder injury.

“This bye week came at a perfect time,” Harris said. “It gives me an extra week to heal my shoulder.

“I bruised it, but now I can move it around and do stuff I couldn’t do when I first hurt it. That’s a good sign, and I should be ready to go against Florida Tech,” he said.

Harris said he believes the effect of the bye week depends on how the extra time is utilized by the players and coaches.

“I think it’s more of an advantage, but it goes both ways,” he said. “We get to work two more weeks on our opponent and feel them out more, rather than rushing everything in one week.”

Senior wide receiver Lee Mayhall said his favorite part of the bye week is the ability to “get his feet back under him.”

“I think the bye week is good for mental and physical rest,” Mayhall said. “We get to practice and tune up our skills, but we also get some rest and recuperate our bodies.”

Mayhall said he recalls last season for the Lions, where the bye week came in week one. This did not give UNA time to rest from a previous game, but rather helped the team’s transition from fall camp to the season, he said.

“I think that gave us more time to tune up before we started the season,” he said. “We had a pretty good season, and we kept rolling, never losing focus.”

After two weeks of preparation, the Lions will face Florida Tech Sept. 26 at 6 p.m. in Braly Stadium.