Hyde Thriving in Meyer's Power Offense

By Kyle Rowland on November 13, 2012 at 5:00p
26 Comments

Urban Meyer’s up-tempo, power spread offense took the college football world by storm in 2001 when he turned around Bowling Green. But it wasn’t until 2004, when Meyer led Utah to an undefeated season, that the new creation made headlines. 

Hyde and Seek with Carlos is daunting for opponents. 

It would make more as the years progressed.

The 2004 Utes and Tim Tebow-led Florida Gators experienced a great deal of success with Meyer at the helm. Much of that came from an offense that proved to be nearly unstoppable.

Say the words spread offense and many immediately think of passing. But Meyer’s version is centered on a balanced approach and is more power than lobbing footballs all around.

That philosophy has been reinforced this season with quarterback Braxton Miller and running back Carlos Hyde. The duo has rushed for more than 1,900 yards and 26 touchdowns through 10 games – and Hyde sat out two games in September.

“This is something that’s new for Urban because we never had that type of physicality,” running backs coach Stan Drayton, who coached with Meyer at Florida, said. “Now that we have it with these guys here, man, it’s really fun to watch the offense develop.

“The beauty is that it fits the skills of our players. It can always be adjusted to the skill that we have with our personnel. We have always been a power, inside-zone outfit, no matter where we’ve been. It’s just that down in Florida, you were doing it with guys who weighed 185 or 190 pounds. Now you’re doing it with a 235-pound back who can break tackles.”

Miller has helped offset some of his rushing production with 1,753 passing yards and 14 touchdowns. But Ohio State’s run game has garnered the most attention.

Miller already became Meyer’s first 1,000-yard rusher in 11 seasons as a head coach. Now Hyde is threatening to become the second. He has 737 yards on the season, needing to average 131.5 over the final two games.

After an up-and-down sophomore season on and off the field, Hyde has emerged as the clear No. 1 running back and a threat in the backfield along with Miller. Hyde has rushed for more than 130 yards in three games and has five games in which he has scored multiple touchdowns.

“I feel like I can’t be brought down, and I run with that in my mind, which allows me to run hard,” he said. “It doesn’t matter who scores more running touchdowns between Braxton and me because I just want to help my team win in whatever way possible.”

That Hyde could be a productive member of the offense is not surprising. But the level of his involvement is something that wasn’t expected. Jordan Hall received praise from Meyer throughout the spring and was listed as the No. 1 running back on the depth chart. Then he stepped on a piece of glass, slicing tendons in his foot. That set him back three games.

Hall averaged more than five yards per carry in his first game back, a 17-carry effort for 87 yards against California. The next week he went over the century mark. But the first half at Michigan State brought another injury, this time to his knee. Hall has not played since and is expected to try and redshirt.

Hyde took the reins and hasn’t looked back. It is a similar situation to last season, but that one ended worse for Hyde. The Florida native started in place of suspended starter Boom Herron and rushed for over 100 yards and two touchdowns at Nebraska. When Herron returned the next week, though, Hyde only received three carries.

After the game, he tweeted his displeasure and even hinted at transferring. The bad attitude persisted when Meyer became head coach.

“Carlos was a guy that didn’t have a great reputation,” he said. “Our first month together was not pleasant. I’ve actually grown to appreciate who he is as a person. I think the perception on him was incorrect.”

Said Hyde: “I was just disappointed last year. I felt I didn’t get the playing time I deserved. I moved past that and this year I have all the playing time that I want, and I’m loving it.”

That newfound maturity has shone through all season, whether it’s in the meeting room, in the locker room or on the football field. Hyde has been quick to credit Drayton - “He’s the best position coach I’ve ever had,” he recently said – and give love to his blockers.

“For me, it all has to do with my offensive line. When those guys go, I go because when they do better, I can do my job better," Hyde said.

In two weeks, he might have 1,000 reasons to say, “Thank you.”

One touchdown puts Montee Ball in the record books.

Ball Game

Wisconsin has a running back of its own. In 2011, Montee Ball finished the season with 1,933 rushing yards and 39 total touchdowns, tied for the most ever in a season. The numbers were Heisman worthy, but the Missouri native ended up fourth.

After spurning the NFL, Ball shot up the 2012 Heisman prediction charts. But a slow start to the season, including an assault on campus, put a halt to any player of the year thoughts.

He has rallied, though, and led Wisconsin to wins in four of its past five games while continuing to pack on yards and touchdowns. Ball helped lead the Badgers’ historic rushing attack a week ago in Wisconsin’s 62-14 dismantling of Indiana.

Wisconsin gained a school-record 564 yards on the ground. Ball had 198 yards and three touchdowns, boosting his scoring total to one shy of the all-time NCAA record. For his efforts, Ball was named co-Big Ten offensive player of the week.

“He started slow, and I don’t put that on him,” Meyer said about the early-season woes. “His strengths are great vision, and he’s really a fast player. He pulls away from angles and his toughness – you can give him the ball a bunch of times and he just keeps getting stronger. He’ll be a very good NFL back.”

There’s no place Ball would rather break the record than at home in Camp Randall Stadium. But to do so, he’ll have to break through an Ohio State defense that has been improving considerably each week since allowing 49 points to Indiana the second week of October.

The Silver Bullets rank 16th nationally in rush defense and second in the Big Ten, allowing 108 yards per game. In 10 games, they’ve surrendered just 11 rushing touchdowns.

Making Saturday even more important for Ball is the fact that it’s Senior Day.

“It’s the ideal picture, basically for myself, to break the record here at home in my last home game,” Ball said on Monday.

The last time Ohio State came to Madison, Ball was benched. For the first time in his career, he didn’t appear in a game. It didn’t matter for the Badgers, though, as they defeated No. 1 Ohio State, 31-18.

Chances are, head coach Bret Bielema will play him this year.

“After last season, we definitely want to beat them,” Ball said.

Spencer has boosted the receiving corps.

Family Lineage

Evan Spencer is well-versed in the history of Ohio State football. The son of the school’s third-leading rusher, Evan grew up in the shadow of Ohio Stadium. His father, Tim, the owner of 3,353 rushing yards from 1979-1982, was the Buckeyes’ running backs coach from 1994-2003. That gave young Evan ample time to spend around his beloved Scarlet and Gray.

After moving to Chicago when his dad took the running backs job with the Chicago Bears, Spencer’s love affair with Ohio State never waned. That’s why when it came time to make a college decision, the highly-touted wide receiver had a much less stressful choice than most of his peers.

“When it came down to it, it was an easy decision,” Spencer said. “This is home for me.”

Instead of just being a legacy player filling up a roster spot, Spencer is making a name for himself. In doing so, he’s starting to make the playing field a second home.

Spencer came to Ohio State as a three-star recruit and one of the top players out of the state of Illinois. He was an all-state selection as a senior, having scored 19 touchdowns on top of 14 during his junior season.

There were high hopes for Spencer as a true freshman, but he got bogged down in the offensive woes of 2011. Spencer still managed to attract attention, though, with a spectacular one-handed touchdown catch versus Akron, the first reception of his career. He played in nine games last season, catching three passes for 78 yards and a touchdown. 

More hardships arrived during spring practice and fall camp in the form of injuries. Spencer broke a bone in his left shoulder in the spring and then suffered a deep bone bruise in his left knee in preseason drills. But he hasn’t let either setback slow him down.

“It really bummed me out,” Spencer said of the injuries. “I told myself that when it comes time for camp, just buckle down and give it everything you’ve got.”

Through 10 games this season, Spencer has been held out of the end zone, but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t been productive. The sophomore has caught 14 passes for 203 yards, including a 44-yarder against Miami (Ohio). He has been named a “champion” four times this season, two behind offensive leader and fellow wide receiver Corey Brown.

“I’m just busting butt,” Spencer said. “I made it a point to do everything I can this season – whatever is necessary to better myself.”

Ten years later, Spencer still says the magical 2002 season is his best memory of Ohio State. 

“I’ve been around the Buckeyes my whole life,” he said. “I still get chills thinking about it.”

With two games remaining in an unbeaten season, it’s now the younger Spencer that has an opportunity to be on an undefeated Ohio State team and make memories that last a lifetime.

26 Comments

Comments

SilverBulletNYC's picture

Call me crazy but is anyone worried about Carlos leaving for the NFL? I know what you're probably thinking, but consider this:
LaMichael James, Heisman finalist- 3rd round pick
Dan Herron, 1,000 yd rusher- 6th round pick
Mark Ingram, Heisman winner- Late 1st rounder in 2011
Antonio Pittman, 1,000 yd rusher- 4th round pick in '07. Out of the league.
With the 2-back sets in the NFL, RBs are being devalued in the league. With Dunn, Hall, Smith and Zeke coming back, I could see Carlos being weary of a return to C-Bus. With that said, I hope he returns.

The South will NOT rise again!

gwalther's picture

More concerned about Hankins.

Class of 2008

AlphaBuck's picture

Hank is gone, can't blame him. Hyde and the other underclassmen return for a 14-0 season.

Toilrt Paper's picture

I've heard he's not crazy about going to classes for another year and is considering going early. .

buckeyedude's picture

We've heard about kids not being crazy about going to class, before.
Unless El Guapo feels like he's going to get the shaft again next year when J. Hall comes back, he'll be back.

 

 

TheHannimal's picture

If Hyde stays, he'll probably get moved to LB anyhow.
I kid.

Doc's picture

Here's to El Guapo getting to 1000 yards.  If he does that we should be 12-0.  Just win, baby!

"Say my name."

1stYrBuckIClub's picture

I have a feeling Carlos will stay... He doesn't get mentioned much in the national press because of the little attention they've given the Buckeyes this year. He'll have much better draft status if he can stay healthy a whole year, as well as the potentially ridiculous numbers he could put up in this offense w/ a years experience in it.

Toilrt Paper's picture

I hear Carlos isn't crazy about attending classes for another year. He could get fewer carries next year when Halll is healthy, Miller throwing more passes and a couple of Percy Harvin like players in the 2013 class.

SilverBulletNYC's picture

If he gets fewer carries then that will only hurt his draft stock. That's why I think he might consider leaving. If he is able to beast it out the final 2 games and go past 1,000 yards rushing then I think he'll be a goner. 

The South will NOT rise again!

Buckeyevstheworld's picture

With the way he's playing, he's the number 1 RB until someone rips it away.

"YOLO" = I'm about to do something extremely ignorant/stupid & I need an excuse to do it.

rdubs's picture

I pretty much agree and think Hall will be split out wide more next year.  I think Smith might get stuck along with Dunn with limited action.  Hard to know what Ball will do but he could use another redshirt year with the depth we'll have next year.

AC1972's picture

Getting fewer carries implies that there will be a limit on yards and touchdowns.  More yards, more touchdowns, same or improved stats for everyone.  This offense will likely score in BUNCHES next year.  Offensive records will be broken.

IBLEEDSCARLETANDGRAY's picture

Unless Hyde is hard up for 4th or 5th round draft slot money, he's not going anywhere. Hyde comes back for his senior season and runs for 1,200+ yards and 15-18 TDs and has big games in big games his draft stock will rise quick enough. Nobody outside this part of the country really knows who he is right now because of all the publicity Miller gets.
I have serious doubts Hall will take Hyde's starting job away next season. One big reason being Hyde will have that much more game experience with the offense than Hall will. Another being Hall isnt the type of back that can carry an offense like Hyde can. Hall has always been the big-play type, which will only make the offense that much more potent next year.
 I will be stunned if Big Hank comes back. He's a Top 5 pick. Seeeeerious money to turn down.
 I do believe Roby needs 1 more year. He will be a Top 5 pick in 2014.
I found myself daydreaming Hankins did decide to come back, kind of like what Will Smith did after the national title in 02. He was a first round pick and came back for another title shot. Maybe Meyer can work his magic. Would be a stellar way for Hank to go out. National title, Lombardi Award, and maybe the No. 1 player taken in the 2014 draft. One can dream :)

"Sherman ran an option play right through the south" - Greatest Civil War analogy EVER.

cinserious's picture

Very well put IBLEEDSCARLETANDGRAY.  Hyde will come back to make a name for himself nationally and be the one-two punch once again but all the way to the NCgame in '13. Hyde does'nt need to worry about J. Hall taking snaps away from him because when Urban wants to pound the ball, theres one main go-to guy, Carlos. When Hyde is in, I see him getting at least 40% of the touches with the other 60% going to Miller, a receiver/TE, or Jordan Hall/Percy-type (Jalin Marshall). The stablle of backs will be deeper next yr with Warren Ball, Ezekiel coming in but nobody is going to 'take' any carries away from Hyde's talent and abilities.

Life's daily struggle is choosing between saying F--ck-it, or soldiering on with your responsibilities.  

Max Power's picture

Great to hear Carlos say he doesn't care who gets more scores between him and Braxton.  Team players are what win ballgames, folks. These guys are young and speaking like 4 yr lettermen. I also like his "no one can bring me down" mentality. It's good to see a RB run with some anger bac in the shoe again

cinserious's picture

I love it! Everybody's questions have been answered as far as Urban's ability to utilize a typical big, bruising Ohio St. RB. Hyde is happy and beasting-out and Bri'onte Dunn can now see he made the right choice. I'm still salty about not pulling in/going after Derek Green though. Ezekiel Elliott will be the Jordan Hall type, but Green has the size and quicknesss of a carlos hyde but potentially with more moves and breakaway ability. We could have redshirted him giving him two years of separation from Brionte Dunn, who is probably the same physically as green.

Life's daily struggle is choosing between saying F--ck-it, or soldiering on with your responsibilities.  

MediBuck's picture

I think the main difference between this Meyer squad and ones of years past is the personell. Coach Urbs likes thunder-and-lightning combos in his two ballcarriers, and the fact that he's had bigger, tougher QBs like Alex Smith and Tim Tebow have forced him to rely on shifty scatbacks for his counterpunch. Having Braxton as the quick man is actually a more effective strategy, as the bigger Hyde can take more carries (and more punishment). I remember watching Florida's red zone woes in 2009 and 2010 and being afraid that it would affect us, but clearly inverting the size of the QB and RB has been the antidote for us. Let's hope this signals a new era of the Meyer offense that takes it to another level of greatness :)

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

Arizona_Buckeye's picture

I don't see El Guapo going anywhere after the season.  The 2013 season has way too many big things in store for the Buckeyes and I believe he wants to be a part of that!  He knows what this year's team has done and it will only get better next year!  I think Big Hank stays as well - they want that Championship Trophy and know Urban is the man that can lead them to it.  Call me Homer, but I like being Homer!!! D'OH

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

Grayskullsession's picture

Its funny thinking back towards the beginning of the year where butthurt scUM, Wisky and State Penn fans calling Meyer's offense a gimmick and how it wouldn't work in the B1G. Whos laughing now?

"if irony were made of strawberries, we' d all be drinking a lot of smoothies right now."

One Bad Buckeye's picture

I love your comment but I'm going to shelf it until after we go 12-0.  We still have two wins to get.  

"I'm One Bad Buckeye, and I approve this message."

45has2's picture

I understand he is "El Guapo", the handsome, but does he really need any nickname when he is the uncontrollable beast soaked in bloodlust that is Mr. Hyde? And Dr. Jekyll never shows up.
I can see Woody jabbing Bo in the ribs with his elbow: "Look at that Ohio Boy down there, Bo. He's running a power spread option with a QB even more slippery than Corny Greene and two big running backs that love to hit the A gap. Hell, you're coach can't even figure out who should be QB and who should be WR." Woody would have embraced this offense, regardless of his stodgy pound it up the middle every play cliche'd image. Just as he embraced a "throw it around the yard" style needed to recruit and keep Arthur. Ok, Schlichter & Co. weren't exactly the fun n gun but the Ol' Man did open up his offense and UFM's offense isn't the fun n gun either. With Rod Smith and Mr. Hyde, they are a Let's get everybody one on one and then see if you can make a tackle offense. GO BUCKS.

"I don't like nice people. I like tough, honest people." -W.W. Hayes

IBleedSandG's picture

I highly dount Hyde goes anywhere b/c he is the no.1 RB on the depth chart next year. Even if Hall gets his redshirt, I don't know how many carries he will get with Hyde, Smith, and Dunn. Those 3 have all shown me the can carry the rock in this offense. Then you also have Ball and Elliot.
RB Depth Chart for next year:

Hyde
Smith
Dunn
Hall
Ball
Zeke

"You pick up the rifle and go as hard as you can possibly go."
-UFM

Dougger's picture

great stuff kyle thank you.
I think Ball will tie the record against us, but won't break it. you know if they get in the end zone, they're giving it to one guy and one guy only. the silver bullets are gonna put 10 in the box. i'd like for RDS and Boren to knock him out on their first posession, but probably won't happen.
didn't know evan spencer's dad was a RB and former coach. i learned something today.
I think that even though the team's eyeing big stuff for '13, not going to class and NFL $ might be more tempting to some. As we've seen Carlos Hyde mature a lot, i would hope that he uses his newfound reason to stay positive and do big things for the team, instead of thinking purely about himself (like being upset last year, and not liking classes this year). hopefully someone lays out that hey classes suck sometimes, but you could graduate and go to the NFL. best of both worlds. 
Come get your whoopin' Wisconsin

I like football

Squirrel Master's picture

I don't know. If Hyde hears good things about possibly being a mid round draft pick, I think he should think about it. Next year there will be no guarantees and a lot more obstructions for him to duplicate this year let alone do anything better. Plus I don't see him being a high draft pick even if he breaks out. I'm just not sure if he will ever be first round material and really with the new rookie salary cap, anything that is out of the first round won't pay that much. So why wait?
I would love to have him back but at the same time, I don't see why he should at least look at leaving for the draft and see where he might end up. Anything higher than 5th round and he is gone.

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

southbymidwest's picture

As for Mr. Hyde next year, he will still have Braxton handing off to him, and his "five guys" (minus Fragel but another huge guy, Decker) making beeeeg holes for him to run through. It's not as if he has to make a decision after this year because he will lose a QB or OL that could negatively impact his numbers and his attractiveness to NFL scouts. I would imagine that he could have gaudy stats next year, and be that much more seasoned to handle the NFL gioven the stability of the players around him.