For Stan Parrish and Ball State University, the bye week came at just the right time in their schedule.
Nine weeks into the season, the Cardinals were able to take a break for the first time this year. Now they are preparing for their final three games.
"I think the bye is a godsend for us," Parrish said. "We haven't had any time off."
Ball State begins its final stretch of games Thursday at Northern Illinois University. All three of their remaining games will be played during the week on national TV with only six days between games. The experience isn't new for Ball State.
"We did a lot of this last year," Parrish said. "But that was a different team."
Toward the end of the season, many teams in the Mid-American Conference play mid-week games. Only one of the Huskies' final four games is on a Saturday.
Ball State took advantage of the schedule to watch Northern Illinois' 50-6 win against Eastern Michigan University last Thursday. Captain Brandon Crawford said it was beneficial to see the same plays they saw watching film in a real game.
"We actually got to watch their game on TV," Crawford said. "Just to see stuff we looked at on film in the past week and looking at it on TV and seeing what they run."
Ball State took three days off last week and used lighter practices to incorporate some younger players as well.
"We want to practice and get ready for Northern Illinois, but develop young guys at the same time," Parrish said.
Parrish said the young players needed the break the most, because most of their high school seasons would have ended in the past few weeks.
"The young guys need it mentally," he said. "I liked the open date when I saw it before."
Wide receiver Briggs Orsbon likes the timing of the break as well.
"It was a great time for the bye week," Orsbon said. "We now have three big conference games coming up. I think the guys were getting a little tired and needed a little break."
Crawford said the Cardinals still have a good attitude coming out of break.
"Everybody's been getting after it in the workout room," Crawford said. "It's not like we're in letdown mode or anything."
Ball State also used the extra preparation time to put extra tricks into their game plan.
"Coaches are dangerous with time off," Parrish said. "There's always a lot of stuff on the board."