DeKALB – Rod Carey isn’t a fan of having a bye week this early in the season.
The majority of Football Bowl Subdivision coaches would certainly agree.
However, this is the hand the Huskies have been dealt, who are off this weekend and will continue their season Sept. 14 at Idaho.
Having a Mid-American Conference game instead this week wouldn’t be unheard of.
The Huskies have had September league games in the past, and there’s one league contest taking place Saturday – Bowling Green at Kent State. However, the MAC ended up dealing NIU a bye.
Carey, the NIU football coach, said his team is going to make a positive out of it. He wants to see the younger players develop, and added that the staff will be out recruiting. Carey said the NCAA allows teams to go recruit on their bye week, and a couple of coaches are already out on the road.
“Early bye weeks ... they can be a bad thing or a good thing. I think we’re going to use it as a good thing,” Carey said. “That was a physical football game. That way [the bye week]’s a real benefit for us. You’d like to have your bye week right in the middle of the year, but we don’t, so we’re going this way for it and we’ll use it for recovery and for young guys to develop, and for our team to move forward.”
One common theme the players mentioned Tuesday was recovering from Saturday.
Saturday’s 30-27 win over Iowa was a close, physical game played in sweltering heat.
“It was a hot game for us,” safety Dechane Durante said. “It definitely took a lot out of us.”
“Just like everybody else was saying, it’s a chance for us to get our legs back,” Lynch said. “We get a chance to watch some college football. We’ll be anxious to get back out on the field.”
The bye week gives a couple of NIU’s key offensive players – running back Akeem Daniels (foot) and wide receiver Tommylee Lewis (ankle), more time to get healthy. Daniels hasn’t been practicing after recovering from offseason foot surgery, while Lewis suffered a sprained ankle in the Iowa win.
Carey said the bye is good from that standpoint. However, he’d still rather have it later in the season.
“I’ll take it smack dab in the middle of every year,” he said.