Holidays have a way of breaking up the routine, but in a good way.
Right in the middle of the Oregon State football team's preparation for one of the biggest games in program history, the Beavers are on a three-day break for Thanksgiving.
They practiced three times early in the week and went their separate ways Tuesday evening. The Beavers return to practice Saturday for the Dec. 3 Civil War in Autzen Stadium.
The Beavers and Ducks are on similar schedules. The schools worked it out for a bye week before the game during Thanksgiving.
"It's nice to have a break, primarily for Thanksgiving," coach Mike Riley said. "I've been a proponent to have this game after Thanksgiving every year. It helps everyone, fans and players."
There have been years when the Beavers celebrated Thanksgiving as a team on campus due to the game being too close to the holiday to take a break.
With the schedule what it is this year, Riley allowed for travel days before and after Thanksgiving, so many of the players are going home or visiting friends nearby.
Markus Wheaton went home to Chandler, Ariz. Tim Clark went to his girlfriend's family in Roseburg. Keith Pankey also went to his girlfriend's home around town.
Jacquizz Rodgers is visiting a friend in Seattle. Damola Adeniji invited teammates to his home in Eugene.
"My parents will be having things down there, and I'll be wearing my colors," Adeniji said. "I've asked a couple people over and my door is always open."
Mike Remmers took some of the offensive linemen to his family farm on Sauvie Island near Portland to go duck hunting to put food on the table tonight.
"It's a family tradition to go out there and duck hunt," Remmers said. "We'll be cooking some duck for dinner."
If any of the players or coaches don't have holiday plans they can always go to Riley's house for a potluck dinner and hang out to watch football like fans.
"It's awesome," Lyle Moevao said. "His house is sick. I'll be on the putting green with a club swinging away. It's cool, and a good time for the players and coaches to spend together. It's great food and good people."
Riley puts on the dinner every year it's possible. There has always been a large turnout.
"If you are in town, you are going to coach Riley's," Keaton Kristick said. "Going to coach Riley's is the best alternative for me. It's better food anyway. Don't tell my mom that. No, I'm kidding. I'm half kidding."
One of the benefits for the players taking the break is physical. Bumps and bruises can heal so they are refreshed for the final week of the regular season.
They can also clear their head. They've been on an academic and emotional grind as the team became Pacific-10 Conference title and Rose Bowl contenders in the last two weeks.
"It's good to give the players time off, and let them get rested up," Pankey said. "We'll be fresh this weekend. It's going to let us wind down. We don't have school and other stuff."
However, it's not all play during the break. The coaches sent home video for the players to watch.
They'll need to review the Ducks during the time off and be ready to work out hard with four practices and a walkthrough before the game.
"You don't want to get too comfortable in the break," Kristick said. "You are going to have time off and time to think about it. And it's good to think about the game."