Georgia State had its second bye week at an opportune time.
The Panthers (3-8, 2-5 Sun Belt) not only got the chance to get some rest and enjoy Thanksgiving with their families instead of preparing for a game, they also got to take a step back after an emotional week that ended with a victory over Georgia Southern (4-7, 3-4) that ended the Eagles hopes of a reaching a bowl game.
Now, with refreshed legs, GSU is back into the swing of things for its last week of practice before taking on Idaho (7-4, 5-2) on Saturday.
“Shaking a little bit of the Thanksgiving food off, but I felt like we moved well once we got started with things,” defensive end Shawanye Lawrence.
Although the turkey from Thursday may not have fully gotten out of Lawrence’s system, he said he and his teammates did make an effort to remain active during the time off.
It seems like the players found the right mix of work and relaxation during the bye as interim coach Tim Lappano said he was pleased with what he saw on the practice field to start the week.
“We’ve had a lot of guys nicked up and I could just tell by their expressions, the way we had a little bit of bounce in our step out there (Monday), that those four days off were good for them,” Lappano said. “And they’re refreshed and they’re a lot healthier than they were a week ago. I liked what I saw the way they came back.”
A pep in the step could go a long way as the players try to make sure the bye week provided helpful rest and didn’t just make them rusty. Going on the road to take on a Vandals team that is having its best season since 2009 means there is little to no room for error for GSU, and the players must be at the top of their game if they want to close out the season with a winning streak.
Before taking off for the holiday last week, the Panthers did have two days of practice to get a jump start on Idaho. Now they return to normalcy looking to pick up on the positives created from the win on Nov. 19.
“I feel like (Monday) was a good bonus day,” wide receiver Robert Davis said. “We had two good bonus days before the break, so I feel like we can carry some of that momentum from last game over to this one.”