MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - The bye week that West Virginia's football team owns this week couldn't have come at a better time.
Well, perhaps that's not exactly true.
In truth, it might have been better a week early. Maybe a little bit of extra time would have been beneficial before the Mountaineers went to Waco, Texas and were ambushed by Baylor.
Then again, given the complete domination by the Bears in that 73-42 mugging, chances are no amount of extra rest or preparation would have mattered much.
Still, it couldn't have hurt.
"Heading into Baylor we tried to convince them that we had enough in our tank to go play a good football team,'' coach Dana Holgorsen said this week. "Looking back on it, I don't know if we did. They were obviously a lot more energized, fresh, excited and ready to play. It showed out there.''
Indeed, the fact that Baylor was playing its first game in 14 days and only its second in nearly a month - between Sept. 7 and Oct. 5 the Bears played only Louisiana-Monroe, on Sept. 21 - did not help the Mountaineers, who were playing their sixth game in six weeks. It's unlikely that any amount of rest would have significantly changed the way the game unfolded, but after facing Oklahoma, Maryland, Oklahoma State and Baylor in a five-week window there is little question West Virginia needs to take a step back.
This was the week for that.
"It's rest and recovery this week. We have a beat up football team,'' Holgorsen said. "We've been playing a lot of snaps defensively and those guys are worn down. It had something to do with what happened on Saturday. Baylor also was efficient. Offensively, we're playing more bodies because we're trying to figure out what our dynamic is and what our makeup is going to be.
"We're really just trying to get healthy. We got away from it a little bit last weekend and this week and we'll get out there and just try to keep improving. We're a football team that's very inexperienced and needs to get out there and keep improving.''
Therein rests the conundrum of sorts. There is no question that West Virginia needs practice, particularly on offense. But any kind of worthwhile practice brings yet another round of beatings to bodies that need rest, so Holgorsen had to balance the two.