Three and Out: The double-bye

Worked this year, but next it's just two games in October for Iowa

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March 29, 2014 | 12:08 am

1. Definitely a good "bye" -- The Hawkeyes looked fresh and lively in their 24-21 victory over Michigan last weekend. The second bye week of the season seemed to give running back Mark Weisman a needed break. After five frustrating weeks, the junior rushed 17 times for 88 yards, including a 9-yard TD and a 22-yard run to start a drive that took the final 2:12 off the clock.

The formula for Weisman's rebound? The Tour de France.

"I’m no medical expert, I don’t know crap about it, but Mark did very little during the bye week," Ferentz said. "He just, to me, looked tired. I thought Damon [Bullock, Iowa's No. 2 of three running backs] looked tired.

"Without too much scientific evidence, those two guys, especially Mark, they got ride the [stationary] bike and watch. That guy worked so hard. He can’t go half speed out there. I’m not saying he’s Bob Sanders [former Iowa safety who was renown for hitting too hard in practice], but there’s a little bit of that too. We put him over in the bullpen for a while."

2. So, the double-bye -- What do you think? The two bye weeks broke tremendously for the Hawkeyes this season. Iowa chugged six weeks, through the easier part of its schedule, with the exception of Michigan State, which took a bite physically out of Iowa going into its first bye. Iowa took the Oct. 12 weekend off and returned to the toughest part of its schedule (at Ohio State, Northwestern, Wisconsin and then at Purdue). Iowa crushed Purdue and then took the Nov. 16 weekend off.

This segmented Iowa's season into digestible stretches of six, four and two games. You won't like the byes next season. Iowa plays its non-conference and then Purdue before it's first bye (Oct. 4). Then, it's Indiana and at Maryland before the next bye. That leaves just two games in the four-week October stretch.

You're going to be bored next October. When the double-bye returns 2019, 2024 and 2025, the Big Ten will have scheduled earlier conference games, November night games and more league games (nine) in 2016.

3. Ferentz's thoughts on double-bye -- Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz seemed cool with two bye weeks. It's fluid, meaning Ferentz will hit whatever note he feels is right for his team given the variables. Obviously, that note last week was a period of rest for most starters.

Ferentz said the first bye was perfectly timed. If the Hawkeyes had a game the weekend after Michigan State, they might've had to hold out six starters. He got a little personal time during Iowa's second bye week: "It gave me a chance to get some stuff cleaned up in the morning and went to a granddaughter’s birthday party. So, it was a pretty good day."

Ferentz said Iowa's staff went into a heavier recruiting mode during the second bye. “It gives us a little better chance maybe to get some things done without taking away from our football team,’’ Ferentz said. “We’ll do a little more of that than we did on our last bye week.’’

Monday, Iowa picked up its 17th commitment for the 2014 recruiting class. Waukon linebacker Parker Hesse (6-3, 205) said yes to Iowa. He'll begin his career as an outside linebacker. On Tuesday, Ferentz said he expects Iowa's '14 class to finish with around 20 commits ("I'll know more in a month or so," he said).

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