Hyde Embraces Leading Role

By Kyle Rowland on October 10, 2012 at 10:00a

One year ago, Carlos Hyde had a career night against Nebraska, rushing for 104 yards and two touchdowns on just 13 carries. A week later at Illinois, Hyde was an afterthought, receiving just three carries and gaining eight yards. 

SOARING: Hyde set career highs for rushing yards and TDs.

Don’t expect history to repeat itself in Bloomington on Saturday night.

Again, Hyde is coming off his best performance to date against the Cornhuskers, achieving career highs with 140 yards and four touchdowns.

“I wore my lucky pants,” he said.

After his outing against Nebraska in 2011, Hyde’s production took a dip because Boom Herron returned from a six-game suspension. This season’s starting running back, Jordan Hall, is likely to miss his second straight game Saturday due to a torn PCL. But even if he did return, Hyde’s carries aren’t going anywhere.

For the better part of a month, Urban Meyer has been asking, pleading that someone other than Braxton Miller become a playmaker and running threat. Hyde became Exhibit A, but there was doubt percolating in Meyer about his ability since Hyde had never put it all together in the field.

The verdict after shucking off the Huskers was beyond reasonable doubt – Hyde is for real.

“We have two good runners right now,” Meyer said. “We have a quarterback who is, obviously, ridiculous running the ball. And then we have Carlos Hyde, who is starting to earn a lot of respect.”

Last season, Hyde let his immaturity take hold of him, going to Twitter to air his grievances about the coaching staff and a lack of playing time. In the story of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, it is Hyde who is the evil one. But Ohio State’s Mr. Hyde has developed into a leader under the new staff. The only accusations of being evil would come from opposing coaches and players.

Hyde has gained 298 yards on the season and is averaging almost five yards per carry. He returned to action at Michigan State after missing two games from a sprained MCL suffered during the first half against Central Florida in Week 2.

The idea in East Lansing was to get both he and Hall on the field at the same time. But those plans were short-lived after Hall was injured in the first half. In his absence, Hyde gained 49 yards, none more important than the final 18, which came on the Buckeyes’ final possession and allowed them to run out the clock on the Spartans in a 17-16 victory.

Due to Hall’s injury, Hyde had more pressure on him entering last Saturday’s game against then-No. 21 Nebraska. Could the offense be effective with only one runner? Would Hyde be able to lighten Miller’s load? The answers to both of those questions were a resounding yes. But it took a while for the offense to get clicking.

In an opening quarter that Meyer referred to as a “train wreck,” Ohio State had zero first downs and just 17 yards of total offense. They would gain 481 over the final three quarters, including 242 in the second. Hyde and Miller totaled 326 rushing yards, nearly all of Ohio State’s 371 yards on the ground, and more than 65 percent of its total yardage.

“Even though we started off slow, we told each other, ‘Just stay focused. There’s still a lot of ball to be played,’” Hyde said. “We stayed together and there was no stopping us.”

The ability to break tackles has extended the OSU offense.

The cherry on top was Hyde’s 16-yard touchdown run in the final minute of the ballgame. Even a fourth-quarter fumble at the tail end of a 15-yard run couldn’t damper Hyde’s spirits.

“It happens. It’s football,” he said. “You’re going to make turnovers. You just can’t get down about it. The next series, the coaches were like, ‘We’re going to run the same play, so just keep going.’”

Said Meyer: “We wanted to really rely on Carlos Hyde a little bit, to pound him the way I felt he earned it. I made that comment after what I saw in that last drive against Michigan State, that maybe we can pound the ball for five, six, seven yards.”

It doesn’t show up on the official box score, but Hyde kept several plays going by bouncing off would-be tacklers, moving his feet and running with a purpose. That physical, smashmouth brand of football led to YAC – or yards after contact – helped lead to four touchdowns, the most by an Ohio State running back since Eddie George in 1995. 

“It’s post-contact yards,” Meyer said. “But I also saw the line of scrimmage change. When he was getting into the line of scrimmage, it was two, three yards down the field that he's doing. That's a big guy. If you get him started, it's hard to bring him down.”

There was a lack of patience in Hyde on and off the field in 2011. After a year of growing up, he’s learned to let plays develop and hit holes quicker and also become a better teammate – another attribute not appearing in statistics.

Hyde and Corey “Philly” Brown’s production both soared Saturday – Brown returned a punt 76 yards for a touchdown – but the two also delivered unselfish, all-around performances. On Miller’s 30-yard touchdown run as the first half was nearing an end, Hyde blasted a Nebraska defender who attempted to bring Miller down. Brown repeated the act on Miller’s 72-yard jaunt.

And following the game, it was Hyde who had to gather himself before his postgame interview, taking deep breaths before thanking his offensive line.

“I have to give all the credit to those guys,” he said. “They’re the reason why I got into the end zone – because they did their job.”

Miller had similar praise for the line, as did Meyer. The unit may have struggled against non-conference competition, but once the calendar flipped and consecutive ranked opponents invaded the schedule, the offensive line has played its two best games of the season.

“That offensive line (opened up holes) in the second quarter, third and fourth,” Meyer said. “My guys right now are that offensive line. I just love them to death. To see what they did (against Nebraska) and see their reaction in there and know what they've gone through.”

The bright lights will shine down on the Buckeyes again Saturday night as they travel to Indiana for their second primetime game in as many weeks. A national TV audience will again tune in, but there’s no telling what Hyde and the offensive line have in store for Act III.


Comments Show All Comments

johnny11's picture

Definitely Hyde's best game, but i felt he still has a problem with vision sometimes. He runs as physically as anyone I have seen in a long time. It almost reminds of Earl Campbell like he is almost seeking out contact. The one thing that bothers me though is I feel like he needs a lot of touches to put up any real stats. I feel like Smith or Dunn are more elusive and can make bigger plays than Hyde even though he is the faster of the three. Smith's 33 yard td run was more impressive than any run Hyde had all night. I don't know though I'm no ball coach and i trust Urban a lot more than anybody else when it comes to evaluating talent. Just my opinion.

ShowThemOhiosHere's picture

I don't know if Hyde can be that elusive guy.  He's a good guy to have in the role of reliable, big back that you can pound up the middle.  He may not break off many huge runs but he's always good for a solid 4-6 yards, and in short yardage, he can get you that yard or two if the line doesn't completely screw up their blocking.  I guess that's why you have multiple backs - to provide that change of pace. 

Class of 2010.

Squirrel Master's picture

Hyde excels better when Braxton is reading the option correctly. Plus it helps that Braxton is the elusive runner of the 2. I don't see a need for an elusive back with Brax but Rod Smith when he runs right, he is powerful and elusive (breaks tackles). Always believed in Smith, just was concerned if he fit in. After Saturday, I think he fits just fine. A kid that good fits in anywhere!
Again, horrible position to be in! I actually prefer the Hyde/Smith/Dunn group with Braxton. To me, once Hall came back after the first 2 games, I thought the offense didn't look as good as when Hyde is in there most of the time. I just don't think Hall is that good!

I saw a UFO once.......it told me to have a goodyear!

avail31678's picture

Going to politely disagree about Hall.  I thought he's looked quick, especially around the outside.  He's averaging 5.5 per carry to Carlos' 4.7.  Put another way, he's got just about as many yards as Hall on 2/3 the number of carries.  And half of Carlos' yards came in just one game (whiich was a heck of a game for Carlos).
I'm not at all disgreeing about Hyde's ability/potential - I just brought up his stats for comparison.  I just think that Hall IS pretty good (this year at least) and is needed on this offense. 

bassplayer7770's picture

I agree.  Hall is shiftier and seems more ideal for the speed options and in the passing game.

avail31678's picture

Good points.  And since you mention passing, Hall does have 3 catches for about 30 so far. 

Boxley's picture

Smith definitely bounced off a few tacklers on his run. In fairness he had not already rushed and blocked for over 40 plays like Carlos had. But he showed good strength and determination. I would like to see him get a few series in if he has the playbook down enough for it.

"...the man who really counts in the world is the doer, not the mere critic-the man who actually does the work, even if roughly and imperfectly, not the man who only talks or writes about how it ought to be done." President T. Roosevelt

MediBuck's picture

I've always been high on Rod Smith because I think he has a unique size/elusiveness combo that's hard to find. I think we should definitely get Hall back on the field once he's healthy, but his natural position should be in the slot (since our WR3,4 haven't been doing much) and motioning into the backfield for option runs and reverses. Hyde's vision has been so-so, but his physicality definitely forces defenses to swarm to him, opening up holes for Miller on zone read keepers.

"There is a force that makes us all brothers, no one goes his way alone." --Woody Hayes

bassplayer7770's picture

Hyde knows the Offense, and I believe that's why he has earned the respect of the staff.  Smith and Dunn are certainly talented, and they will have their time eventually.  Smith may even get more quality PT this season.
Here's hoping we steamroller the Hoosiers early and let some backups get quality PT.

BeijingBucks's picture

Seems the backups are already starting on D... I'd be happier to let the offense keep working on their reads. This is not a game I e pect to be out there muscling in the 4th. Beat em down. Make them angry enough to get better next year

None can love freedom heartily, but good men; the rest love not freedom, but license. ~ John Milton

Boxley's picture

I think the backups are getting starts on D, because of all the injuries the D has had this season.
We have been blessed on the O-line, QB, receivers etc; Every position on the D, except Goebel has been in and out this season. wait until we can keep a consistent, first team D, on the field for a whole game.

"...the man who really counts in the world is the doer, not the mere critic-the man who actually does the work, even if roughly and imperfectly, not the man who only talks or writes about how it ought to be done." President T. Roosevelt

Arizona_Buckeye's picture

AMAZING what a team can do with the addition of new offensive coaches who actually know how to coach an offense!  Night and day boys and girls, night and day!!!

The best thing about Pastafarianism? It is not only acceptable, but advisable, to be heavily sauced

Alhan's picture

"shucking off the Huskers" Iseewhatyoudidthere

All of our runners had a great game on Saturday. Props to the other team members for some sick blocking as well.

It did my heart good to see Hyde step into the bruiser-back role and own it. We've been a little down in the running back department since Beanie left. Keep it rollin'!

"Nom nom nom" - Brady Hoke

Optimistic Buckeye Pessimist's picture

Confidence in yourself and each other is doing a lot for this team.  Early in the season and last year, Hyde would take a hand off and move laterally waiting for a hole to open up.  Now you notice that he taking the ball with a head of steam because he knows where the hole will open, he knows his line will do the job and he knows that he can run over people.  I take nothing away from Hyde, but this OL is becoming a beautiful thing.

Read my entire screen name....

RBuck's picture

I noticed that also lately. He's really hitting the hole a whole lot faster...past the D-line in a flash.

Long live the southend.

Earle's picture

Let's just hope he keeps wearing those lucky pants!

Snarkies gonna snark. 

tampa buckeye's picture

Smith might of had 200 yards with the holes the o-line was opening.  Glad this guy stayed now give him the damn ball. 

Boxley's picture

Tampa, if Smith had the mental part down he would get the carries. He may just now be getting more time, as he absorbs the play book, or it could be because they know Hall is going to be out for a while and they had no one else ready to step into the 2nd Rb position.
Smith has the physical tools, he is like Hyde last year and needs to learn the plays, trust the line, and HANG ONTO the ball..

"...the man who really counts in the world is the doer, not the mere critic-the man who actually does the work, even if roughly and imperfectly, not the man who only talks or writes about how it ought to be done." President T. Roosevelt

tampa buckeye's picture

Learn the plays?  It should be like Forrest Gump...Run!! Ok.  TD. Stop.

RBuck's picture

Gotta get his blocks also.

Long live the southend.

johnny11's picture

From what I have read Drayton said That has  been Rod's biggest issue is picking up the playbook and his assignments. That article was on here around week 2 i believe. Since then Urban has been saying good things and his playing time has increased. I just think he just now starting to grasp the system and when he gets more touches he will produce.

buck-I.8's picture

Well he's obviously difficult to tackle, so maybe he should be given some chances in certain sets that don't hurt his brain too much

GoBucks713's picture

I can't wait to see what Hyde does to Indiana's defense this week. Here's to hoping for 200+ for El Guapo.

-The Aristocrats!

CC's picture

Hyde had really put it together for NB and the end of MSU but Smith has given just enough to keep me (us) wanting more.
Between the UFM comments after the MSU game and his toughdown against NB i really just want to see more.  If you notice he is doing a much better job protecting the ball this year.  High and tight.

johnny11's picture

Yah Smith is definitely putting a premium on ball security in the last couple games when he is carrying the ball. I really wish he would get a little more of a look because I feel he is the best back we have once he understands the playbook and gets the opportunity to touch the ball more.

bassplayer7770's picture

I enjoy seeing Smith out there, but the staff probably sees him daily, so they would know about his weaknesses better than we would.  I trust the staff at this point, but it seems like we're seeing more and more of Smith, so he must be working hard.  As for ball security, I have no doubt the staff is preaching that to all players, but any player is susceptible to the occasional fumble (Braxton, Hyde, Boren, Philly, etc.).

Baroclinicity's picture

I saw a lot of Boom in Hyde Saturday in the sense that he turned would be 3yd gains into 5 or 6 yds. Huge, especially on first down.

When you're holding a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

BuckeyeInOrlando's picture

Agreed. Braxton is soooo dangerous on second or third and short.

BuckGuy003's picture

Smiths run was very impressive and i wish he got more carries too, seems like he wants it really bad and you can tell he was very careful with keeping the ball in his hands.

cinserious's picture

I say we start the IU game by constantly pounding the ball inside to El Guapo, then let Baxton scoot to the edge and break off a long TD run. Then add in some short/deep passes to really keep the defense guessing. Repeat. Once we're up 70-3 in the third quarter, then let our three junkyard dawgs: Hyde, Brionte, And Rod Smith chew up the remaining yardage.

One day I will valiantly become a political prisoner of 11W jail.

Boxley's picture

^^^^ Rinse, lather, repeat all game long.

"...the man who really counts in the world is the doer, not the mere critic-the man who actually does the work, even if roughly and imperfectly, not the man who only talks or writes about how it ought to be done." President T. Roosevelt

tampa buckeye's picture

I just want the defense to play some.  Although it is nice to have an offense that can out score the other team.  I think the last staff thought that was against the rules.

buckeyedude's picture

I like it! Dont' forget to give Kenny G some snaps though!



BuckGuy003's picture

Dude I totally had a dream brionte dunn left the team...I was so blown

blendking's picture

Rod Smith please

Chip Smith

Buckeyejason's picture

Rod Smith please don't fumble 



johnny11's picture

@jason why do you Rod Smith Bash so much. Not trying to be a DB, but just trying to find out the reason that anytime his name is brought up you always have bad stuff to say.

Buckeyejason's picture

Just a joke guys..sorry forgot the lol.


BuckeyeInOrlando's picture

Last season against Indiana, Braxton Miller had the longest ever touchdown run by any Ohio State quarterback... I expect that record to be broken Saturday!

buckeyedude's picture

Don't know if anybody else said this, but...
He got a "plethora" of TDs vs the Bugeaters.



1stYrBuckIClub's picture

After the terrible under-utilization of Carlos after last year, I'm thrilled he's taken on the 'lead back' role, even if it's due to Jordan Hall's injury. I know I'd read during fall camp that Carlos was proud of his pass-catching skills, just surprised we haven't seen them throw to him. Zach Boren seems to be the pass threat out of the backfield in Urban's (or Tom's) mind right now, with a little Philly thrown in (but people will key on him because they expect it). Toss El Guapo the chalupa already!