Last week's bye week gave the Tennessee football team a chance to take a break from its brutal October schedule and impending match-up with Alabama.
First-year coach Derek Dooley believes an open date before any game can have both positives and negatives.
"The statistics show it's no advantage," Dooley said at his Monday press conference, on teams playing after a bye week. "It's like (a) 50-50 (winning percentage). It can be an advantage, because you obviously have more meeting time. You have more time to work some fundamentals. The obvious things tell you it's an advantage.
"The disadvantage is, you get out of your routine. You're a lot longer from the game speed and the tempo. So sometimes teams come out early and it's like, 'Oh, man, it hasn't been this fast in a while.' Sometimes you can over-coach them. You feel like you have all this time, and you put in all these plays and have all these great schemes, and you go out there and look terrible. I've seen it work, and then sometimes you grind them so hard in the bye week, they come out flat. I've seen it across the board."
Similar to the advantages Dooley mentioned, senior wide receiver Gerald Jones felt like the bye week does give the Vols an advantage over the Crimson Tide because of the added time to game plan for the opponent.
"I mentioned it last week, how big this off week was for many reasons," Jones said after Monday's practice. "It gives you more time to watch Alabama on film. It gave us the weekend to watch them play. It gives time for any guys who are banged up and have any injuries a time to heal. Give time for the younger guys to get better and get more reps physically and individually. It's a big week, especially to play against a team like Alabama. If you want a bye week, you want it before you play them."
Other Vols used the bye week as a time to get away from the gridiron completely and not worry about Saturday's game.
Sophomore Prentiss Waggner traveled home to Louisiana for the weekend. While at home, the starting strong safety finally gave in to a friendly bet he had had with some of his teammates, dating back to the summer, regarding his hair.
"Over the weekend, I decided (I) was going to come back with a different look," Waggner said. "I cut (my hair) off Friday. I'd been growing it for about four and a half or five years."
Fellow defensive back Marsalis Teague said Waggner came into the team's meeting on Friday with a hood on, and he knew something was different with Waggner.
"He had been telling us he was going to get it (cut) in the bye week, but none of us really believed him," the sophomore Teague said. "Then, he came in Friday, before we had left, he was running a couple of minutes late and he came in with a hood on. Went over there and snatched the hood off, and it was too crazy."
While most players were laid back like Waggner, others spent more serious time with their teammates.
Senior middle linebacker Nick Reveiz and a few other Vols traveled to Atlanta and spent time playing golf together.
"I played 18 holes of golf on Saturday," Reveiz said. "(Senior tight end) Luke Stocker is getting married in December, so we went down to Atlanta and hung out there, played some golf.
"I popped in the clubhouse one time and saw the Vandy-Georgia game on. I didn't watch a whole lot of it. It was weird seeing people are playing. It was a weird feeling, gave me chills like, 'I'm not out there playing right now and sweating and playing and enjoying the game.' But I think it's good sometimes to clear your mind and get a break. I feel like there is such things as overworking and overtraining. I feel like a bye week is good for teams, especially in the middle of the season."
The Vols hope the bye week is good for the team on Saturday when the Crimson Tide travel to Knoxville for a 7 p.m. match-up.