It's break time for five Big 12 schools -

It's break time for five Big 12 schools

(AP) -- For coaches, late September is the perfect time for a break.

Five schools are taking the weekend off by design, helping to cleanse the palate heading into conference play in October. No. 5 , No. 10 Texas Tech, No. 18 Kansas, Baylor and Iowa State all get extra time for preparation, healing, targeting areas of need and academics.

Missouri has two breaks built into the schedule, getting another week off before playing Kansas in Kansas City in the regular season finale. Coach Gary Pinkel said the Tigers (4-0) will get roughly twice the number of practices for their Oct. 4 conference opener at Nebraska and the Kansas game.

Meetings and walkthroughs are set for Tuesday and Thursday, with practices on Saturday and Sunday, along with conditioning work on Thursday. Pinkel also wants players to get a chance to hit the books.

"We always like to have one before the first conference game if we can do it," Pinkel said Monday on the Big 12 Coaches teleconference.

For Kansas coach Mark Mangino, it's a good teaching time for a 3-1 team.

"Especially early in the season, it's more about getting better fundamentally, getting better as a team," Mangino said.

Other schools don't have the luxury of fine-tuning.

Iowa State coach Gene Chizik said he could "probably stay on this phone for two hours" while detailing needy areas from a 2-2 start. The running game, more physical play on the offensive line, a defense that's "feast or famine," and emotional outburst on the field are all on his list.

"Overall, we've got to work on consistency," Chizik said. "We're not consistent enough to win."

No. 2 Oklahoma (3-0) is coming off a free Saturday heading into this week's game against No. 24 TCU. Coach Bob Stoops' team will be rested, and now he said they need to perform against a school that upset them in 2005.

"You don't know what you've seen until you get back on the field," Stoops said. "There was nothing in particular outside of getting extra work on teams and extra work for TCU. We were just polishing everything."

No. 7 Texas was to have been off this week, too. The Longhorns (3-0) are playing Arkansas in a game rescheduled due to Hurricane Ike.

"The guys have done what we've asked them to do," coach Mack Brown said. "There's a lot of questions about this team, but to the players' credit they've beaten three teams like they're supposed to."

Colorado (3-0) took a week off after two games, and faces a difficult test this week against Florida State in Jacksonville, Fla. To coach Dan Hawkins, it's not really a neutral site.

"It's still going to be a home game for them," Hawkins said. "It's Florida and they'll have a ton of fans there."

Taking on Florida State is part of Hawkins' overall philosophy of getting challenged before taking on the Big 12. The Buffaloes beat West Virginia last week and last year faced Arizona State and Florida State.

"I want guys that want to play against those kinds of teams," Hawkins said. "We recruit nationwide and we like taking our guys all over the country. It's part of the experience."

Nebraska (3-0) figures to be tested at home by Virginia Tech (3-1), after taking last week off. The Huskers warmed up for this one with wins over Western Michigan, San Jose State and New Mexico State.

"We feel like we've played some quality opponents up to this point," coach Bo Pelini said. "It'll be good to have probably a little more of a high-profile game."

Notes:@ Oklahoma leads the nation in red zone efficiency with 17 touchdowns and a field goal in 18 attempts. It's no accident. "It definitely is emphasized," Stoops said. ... Missouri has the offensive and defensive players of the week off Saturday's 42-21 victory over Buffalo. QB Chase Daniel, honored for the sixth time, set a Big 12 record with 20 consecutive completions and threw for a career-best 439 yards. LB Sean Weatherspoon had a career-high 20 tackles with three stops for a loss. Colorado kicker Aric Goodman, who made a 25-yard field goal in overtime, is special teams player of the week. He also was awarded a scholarship after the game. ... Six of the nation's top 10 scoring teams come from the Big 12, including Oklahoma (54.67) and Missouri (53.75) in the top two spots. Also in that group: Oklahoma State fifth at 50.67, Texas sixth at 48.67, Kansas State seventh at 47.67 and Texas Tech, eighth at 45.75.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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