Originally posted on Fox Sports Detroit  |  Last updated 10/1/12
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Now that Michigan's bye week is over, coach Brady Hoke has the tricky assignment of evaluating a weekend where his team didn't play any football. "It is hard to evaluate bye weeks, but I think this was a good one," he said. "If nothing else, our freshmen, who have been here since June 25, got 36 hours to go home, see their families and watch their high school play a game. They needed that." The rest of the players also had the same 36-hour window to go home, but most of them passed. "I live in Arizona, so I just stayed here," defensive end Craig Roh said. "I watched Nebraska-Wisconsin. I watched State against Ohio, and I caught up on some school work. "I also caught up on a lot of sleep. It's nice to feel rested." The team also did quite a bit of work on the practice field, focusing on techniques and fundamentals. That meant Roh spent a lot of time faced off against Michigan's star offensive tackle, Taylor Lewan, instead of facing a scout-team tackle trying to help impersonate the next opponent's offense. "It's great when we have a week like this, where the first-string offense goes against the first-string defense," Roh said. "When I'm facing Taylor, it really makes me focus on my technique and that helps my game a lot." Lewan agreed entirely. "We were working on technique and fundamentals, and you can never get too much of that," he said. "Those are everything for an offensive lineman. "You can't learn to be physical -- you either have that or you don't -- but you can always work on getting your technique right and getting the fundamentals right. That's why a week like this is important." Hoke liked what he saw on the practice field, but he won't have any idea if it helped until Saturday's game at Purdue. "I don't know when you want to have your bye week," he said. "I think this one was timed well, but you'll have to ask me again in eight weeks." And what did Hoke do with his 36 hours off? "Well, Mrs. Hoke, you know she loves to watch football," he said. "I see a lot of football, but I watched Purdue-Marshall, with us going down there this week, and I watched the other two Big Ten games that were on." One week, though, didn't give Hoke much insight into the Big Ten race. "It's still the Big Ten," he said. "Everyone knows everyone else to some degree, knows what they want to do and how they want to do it. Everyone is going to get after each other, and it just comes down to how well you prepare and how well you execute. "The big thing is being able to play on the road. The one thing we've talked about this week is being a better road team." INJURY UPDATES Hoke said that, other than the players who are out for the season, most of Michigan's injuries are healing nicely. "(Brennan) Beyer will be back this week, and Brandon Moore will be close," he said. "Richard Ash is better, and Stephen Hopkins is fine. Devin (Gardner) is fine and Ricky Barnum had a sore shoulder, but he's fine. They all practiced last night." Gardner was injured when he ran into a camera stand on the sidelines at Notre Dame, and Hoke doesn't see that problem going away anytime soon. "That's something that is the case at a lot of stadiums," he said. "You've all know at our stadium that we sometimes have a band in one corner or something like that. "No matter what I think about it, it isn't something that anyone is likely to change."
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