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The long-awaited bye week is finally here

The Midshipmen gathered on the practice field for a brief stretching and running session on Monday afternoon. After that, Coach Ken Niumatalolo wants the players to stay as far away from football as possible for a few days.

"They are banished," Niumatalolo said. "The only reason you got to be here is treatment, and Doc [Jeff Fair] tells you when to come. There's no extra lifting, [so] go in the hall, go with your companies. Re-introduce yourself to people. You've been away for a while. It's a great opportunity. We complained all year that we had a tough schedule without a break. This is our break now."

Several assistant coaches headed out on Monday on recruiting trips. Niumatalolo will stay in the area; he is scheduled to appear on "Washington Post Live" (Comcast SportsNet) on Tuesday. Junior quarterback Ricky Dobbs plans on using his time off to get a head start on a paper he has to write for his leadership class; he's going to write about Jesus, "the ultimate leader in my opinion."

Navy played 11 straight games, an exhausting stretch that included trips to Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas (back-to-back weeks) and Indiana. The Midshipmen survived with an 8-3 record and few major injuries, and now they have a week and a half to rest until they play at Hawaii.

"I think just being able to get away for a minute is going to make us miss it a little bit more," Dobbs said. "I think that's one of the reasons why I think he wants us to stay out of the locker room. It's just going to help us, because we can continue to roll, but we'll just be more well rested."

The time off should allow some nagging injuries to heal. Slotback Marcus Curry, who missed three games with a pulled quadriceps, got 11 carries against Delaware on Saturday; he was sore on Monday and was running at three-quarters speed. Fullback Vince Murray was in uniform on Saturday but did not play because of an injured shoulder; Niumatalolo is hopeful that he'll be ready to go on Nov. 28 against Hawaii. Dobbs says that his injured right knee is feeling "pretty good," and that the time off should allow the rest of his body to heal.

The Midshipmen will practice on Monday and Tuesday next week, and will fly (commercial) to Hawaii on Wednesday. During this past Monday's stretching session, a trio of Hawaiian-themed songs were played over the loudspeakers.

"Got to get in the mood," said Niumatalolo, a native of Hawaii.

By Camille Powell  |  November 17, 2009; 8:53 AM ET
 
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