Ohio will have time to enjoy a free weekend before it takes on three opponents the following week.
The bye week will be the first time since winter break that the Bobcats have an entire weekend to rest and prepare for their next opponents. After the bye week, Ohio will host Utah Valley University on Feb. 21 and then Buffalo and Gardner-Webb on Feb. 23.
Ohio doesn’t usually get a bye week this late in the season, but coach Joel Greenlee isn’t complaining about the timing of the off weekend.
“Honestly, it’s just nice to have a bye weekend at this time in the year,” Greenlee said. “When it’s late in the year, some guys are beat up a little bit, trying to get back to being healthy.”
Early in the season Greenlee wants his wrestlers to focus on their competition and prepare for the tough season. If the bye week had occurred earlier, the Bobcats would have likely spent it by training hard for their upcoming opponents.
Toward the end of the year, however, Greenlee knows it’s important to let his team wind down and heal their bodies as tournament season approaches. He wants his wrestlers to be in peak shape for the Mid-American Conference and NCAA tournaments in March. To get the wrestlers to be relaxed, they might have a bowling night or go see a movie together.
That doesn’t mean there isn’t any work getting done, though.
“I’d say it wasn’t an easy week,” Greenlee said. “It wasn’t a super hard week, either.”
The last three duals will be important for Ohio, even if only one of its opponents (Buffalo) is a MAC opponent. The Bobcats still have a chance to get more wins in order to improve their seeding in the MAC Tournament and odds of qualifying for the NCAA Tournament later that month.
Most of the Bobcats are healthy or getting close, and the bye week will only give their bodies more time to relax.
“Wrestling is pretty hard on your body,” Greenlee said. “If you can get a week where you can lay off training a little bit or take a day off when you need it, I think it’s going to help everybody out.”
Many of Ohio’s wrestlers are hard workers and eager to get back to the mat as soon as possible. One such player, Logan Stanley, a regular starter at 174-pounds, won’t rest voluntarily. His coaching staff made him take days off and wouldn’t let him do any training that could possibly hurt his body and future performances.
In a week that will be filled with cooling tubes and stretching, all of the Bobcats will have their chance to get the rest Greenlee wants them to and that they deserve.