Ten weeks of hits add up in NCAA Division I-A football. Just ask Kansas University running back Jon Cornish, who feels like an old man after getting a weekly beat-down with the ball in his hands.
"I am so ready for the break," Cornish said. "I've been going the whole season, and it's very difficult with the numbers of carries I've been getting.
"Playing against Big 12 competition, these guys are big and strong, and they hit hard."
With KU's game at Missouri moved to Nov. 25 for television purposes, that left Saturday as an idle date on the Jayhawks' schedule. They'll play again Nov. 18 at home against Kansas State.
A new NCAA rule permits 12 regular-season games, and as a result, a normal bye week in September was wiped out. Because of that, Kansas played 10 straight weeks between the opener against Northwestern State and Saturday's 41-10 victory versus Iowa State.
"It's a good way to play your 10th game in a row," KU coach Mark Mangino said of Saturday's blowout in Ames, Iowa. "Now we've got a chance to get a little bit of rest, get better fundamentally and do all the things we need to do to get better for the future."
Considering how stressful KU's first 10 games were, the bye week may be even more savored. Of the 10, only the first and last weren't decided in the fourth quarter or overtime. Kansas won close games against South Florida, Lousiana-Monroe and Colorado and lost tight ones against Toledo, Nebraska, Texas A&M;, Oklahoma State and Baylor.
"It's been 10 weeks of hard-fought games," Mangino said.
KU's players had Sunday and today off, and will have fundamental-based practices on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday before getting Friday and Saturday off.
As for preparation for in-state rival Kansas State, it might seep in a little into Thursday's workout.
"But that's not really our focus," Mangino said. "Our focus is getting ourselves better. We have next week to put all our focus on K-State."
On top of the practice schedule, Kansas coaches plan to hit the road and recruit during the down time. The players will also get a chance to watch their next opponent - K-State plays Texas at 7 p.m. Saturday on ABC.
"I think it's a good time for our kids to get a little rest," Mangino said. "We'll work hard fundamentally, work on the little things to get better this week. : We'll utilize the week the right way."