While the DVR has made appointment viewing a thing of the past, four Pac-12 coaching staffs will have the ability to catch up on some television this week. Maybe they’ll grab a nice dinner with their wives, and maybe even take in a movie.
That may be a stretch, but with his team on a bye this week —along with three other conference schools in a week of strange scheduling — Stanford head coach David Shaw is serving notice to his staff.
Nothing will be served.
“The biggest thing for me is I don’t allow dinner to be served in coaches office. I make them go home,” Shaw said of his bye week plan for this week, as the team gets a few extra days to prepare for its toughest test of the regular-season, a Nov. 7 home game with Oregon. “It’s good for guys to go home and see their wives and kids for dinner.”
Ducks head coach Mark Helfrich did the same to his coaches as he prepares for the Cardinal, who along with Washington and Utah are also off this week.
Pac-12 scheduling quirks mean there will only be two games Saturday — Arizona at Cal and Colorado at UCLA, while Arizona State at Washington State kick off play on Thursday and USC travels to Oregon State on Friday night.
For Oregon, with the bye-week schedule adjusted because of game day coming on a Thursday, Helfrich said the Ducks would have a short workout on Tuesday followed by film sessions, normal practices on Wednesday and Thursday and then Friday off. Their game-week preparation will begin Saturday.
“We’re trying to get ahead on Stanford,” he said.
Helfrich, after all, already did his booting.
“On Sunday, I kicked everybody out of here much earlier than normal,” Helfrich said. “This week should be a week for everybody to rest, recover. Our guys – you get so dialed into the routine of a week, they’re used to being here. We definitely try to kick some guys out of here.”
The plans at Oregon and Stanford this week don’t vary too much from typical NFL off-weeks, which Shaw knows quite well from his days in The League.
“The NFL bye week, depending on when it happens, these are older guys, you want to get them off their feet, away from football, away from coaches, let their minds refresh,” said Shaw, who spent nine years in the NFL with Philadelphia, Oakland and Baltimore. “College-wise, you want the guys to get off their legs, but you don’t want them to be away from you too long. All the knowledge they gain, they have so much going on, you don’t want them to lose that momentum and what you’ve built upon so you have to go back and reteach things.”
But being so friendly to the legs — and the coaches’ families — is a luxury not every team can afford.
Other teams — well, lesser teams — have a lot more fixing to do.
The Utes, who have a bye week following back-to-back losses at Arizona and USC, are looking to rediscover an offense that’s gone missing since a surprise 27-21 upset over Stanford.
There’s no rest for the weary in Salt Lake City, where coaches will embark on recruiting trips at the end of the week after putting work in on the offense.
“We’ve got a lot do offensively,” Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said. He said the 19-3 loss to the Trojans was “our poorest performance by far offensively. We have to figure out what we’re doing going forward. That’s at the top of the list.”
For teams like Stanford and Oregon, though, peace of mind is more important than fixing the pieces.
“I’m kicking the coaches out of the office on Thursday for Halloween,” Shaw said. “I’m forcing the coaches and myself to have some downtime.”