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October 1, 2012During an eight-year, six-game span from 2001-08, Michigan proved unbeatable following a week off, winning its post-bye contest. Overall, the Wolverines are 7-3 in their last 10 games after enjoying a Saturday sabbatical, including a 36-14 victory against Purdue in 2011, as they look to capitalize off this year's mental and physical break.
"You never know when a good bye week is, when it's not a good bye week -- I don't think you really know that until you go through it," head coach Brady Hoke said.
"It was good because of the productivity that we got from having the bye week. I would hope we would have that productivity any time the bye week was, but I think we got to really reevaluate where we're at and what we want to do.
"You evaluate yourselves a little bit as coaches - that's always a big part of it in different things, in aspects that you're involved with from the kicking to the defense, offense. You always look at self scouting and see where you're at and what you might want to do different or what you like in what you're doing.
"The other part of it is the teaching part, the fundamentals, those things that go with it."
Senior defensive end Craig Roh mentioned that he felt both "rested and rejuvenated" after a weekend without a game with redshirt junior left tackle Taylor Lewan echoing his teammate's feelings.
"A week off always helps - less practice, less hitting," Lewan said. "It's an opportunity to get healthier.
"This past week, we just worked on technique and fundamentals, which is part of everything, especially for the offensive line. You can never get too much of that."
The Wolverines' bye comes earlier than usual; only once has U-M had a week off in September during the past 10 years with a break (2008, Sept. 20). Six of the past 10 byes have come in October and three in November, with the season further along.
To keep the players focused, Michigan had its top players on both sides of the ball square off during practices, and they responded.
"When you're going against the ones, it just sharpens you because we have a lot of great guys on the offense, and it keeps you where you need to be at it to play at a high level," Roh said.
U-M's week-six opponent, Purdue, did not have the week off, beating Marshall 51-41, and the Boilermakers will be ready. The Maize and Blue must shake off their rust and match Purdue's intensity.
"We've got a tremendous challenge, because I think Purdue is playing as well as anybody in our league right now," Hoke said.
"They're 3 1 and went into South Bend [in week two], and played a hard fought, tough game and had a chance to win the game.
"So we've got our work cut out for us."