Carlos or Braxton: Who Leads Ohio State in Rushing?

By Jeff Beck on June 17, 2013 at 2:00p

2012 was a banner year for the Buckeye ground attack. The Scarlet and Gray’s 242 rushing yards per game was good enough for 10th in the nation, churning out 37 of the team’s 60 total TDs in the process.

El GuapoCarlos doing Carlos

Nearly 80% of the squad’s 2,907 rushing yards came via Braxton Miller and Carlos Hyde. The tandem was downright deadly running Urban Meyer’s newly installed spread. 

Miller, is tailor-made for Meyer’s offense. His speed, athleticism and shiftiness are exactly what Urban looks for in a playmaker. Hyde is the exact opposite; a bruising 235 lbs back that would rather go through opponents than around them. 

Hyde doesn’t fit the mold, and that’s exactly what the coaches love about him. Just listen to Running Back Coach, Stan Drayton.

"The beauty of this offense is that it fits the skills of our players. It can always be adjusted to the skill that we have with them, our personnel. (Meyer's coaches) 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, and these guys when they hit it they break a tackle or two."

With a full year operating Meyer’s system, an entire offseason to study its finer points, and the offensive line returning four senior starters Miller and Hyde are primed and ready to obliterate last year’s ground performance.

It seems its not really a question of will they…but how will they? So instead we’ll shift our focus to which of the duo will have more rushing yards in the 2013 season?

Miller won that battle last year with 1,271 yards on the ground to Hyde’s 970. With that said, Carlos missed two games due to injury. If you look at their per game averages the yardage seems much closer at 106 (Miller) to 97 (Hyde). If you consider their yards per carry the chasm draws even closer at 5.6 yards per carry for Miller and 5.2 for Hyde.

But 2013 won’t occur in a 2012 vacuum, particularly for Hyde. A number of talented players will challenge Carlos for carries including sophomore Bri’onte Dunn, junior Rod Smith, the embattled Jordan Hall, and incoming freshmen Ezekiel Elliott and Dontre Wilson.

That’s about as stocked as a Buckeye backfield has ever been, and that’s exactly why I think Hyde will have more rushing yards that Miller in 2013.

That doesn’t make any sense you say? Just hear me out.

Brax-Tony BagelsBraxton doing Braxton

Throughout the offseason it was clear the coaching staff was trying to hammer home a point to reporters: Braxton's fundamentals still need some work.

This from Urban Meyer:

“Tom Herman and Braxton Miller understand they have to get better. And Braxton fundamentally, if he becomes fundamentally the best quarterback in America, I think he will be the best quarterback in America."

And this from QB Coach, Tom Herman:

"As improved as [Miller] got, he's not the best fundamental quarterback in the country and they pay me a lot of money to make sure that he is. So we are going to do whatever it takes to get him there sooner rather than later, but understanding you can't do a thousand drills and go to bed that night and you're the best fundamental quarterback in the country."

Seeing a pattern? To think that Braxton can only get better is downright frightening. With that said, the coaching staff will look to protect Miller throughout the season so we don’t have a repeat of this no good, very bad day.

The best way to do that is to get the ball out of Miller’s hands, and Meyer and company have been coaching up Braxton’s supporting cast to do exactly that.

As aforementioned, there will be an embarrassment of riches at the RB position. In addition, Jordan Hall, Dontre Wilson and Jalin Marshall will look to fill the H-Back “Percy Harvin” role missing for most of the 2012 season due to Hall's injury.

The three players have the ability to make something happen on end-arounds, pitches and quick passes; all of which are intended to create defensive mismatches and take some of the impetus off Miller to carry the load.

Braxton will also have a much-improved receiving unit made up of veterans Devin Smith, Philly Brown, Chris Fields and Evan Spencer as well as budding underclassman Michael Thomas. In addition, the group will have incoming four-star James Clark as well as the aforementioned Marshall to work with.

Finally, Braxton will have TEs Jeff Heuerman and Nick Vannett to rely on. The two earned high praise during the offseason, particularly from Meyer who said, “The tight-end area is the best I’ve had.” It’s all the more meaningful coming from this guy’s former coach.

Even the most casual observer could see Miller WAS the offense in 2011. While that changed markedly in his second season, there was still a perception Miller was being relied on too heavily to move the ball in 2012. Right or wrong, an improved supporting cast will curtail Miller’s share of ball, most likely increasing his passing yards while keeping constant or possibly even decreasing his yards on the ground.

On the other hand, we have Hyde who will still get a majority of the carries despite a number of challengers nipping at his heels.

All signs point to Hyde having the best season of his collegiate career. His trajectory has been impressive, increasing his total yardage by over 400 yards from his freshman to sophomore season and from his sophomore to junior season.

In 2013, Hyde will run behind the most talented offensive line he’s ever had. Couple that with a spread offense aimed at keeping a defense guessing and the holes Carlos will see should be as plentiful (and as large) as they’ve ever been.

So many times during Hyde’s first two seasons everyone in the stadium knew when he was getting the ball. Even in 2012, Meyer was forced to line-up, show his hand and run the I-formation at times because he simply did not have the personnel to do the things he wanted to do.

That’s not to say the Bucks wont run the I, but I simply don’t see it happening as frequently. With so many playmakers on offense it will be mandatory to have most of them on the field at once, necessitating a more wide-open set.

That will do two things: 1. Allow Braxton to spread the ball around and 2. Keep the opponent guessing, allowing Carlos to run roughshod on a defense that doesn’t know he’s coming.

While Braxton will get his yards on the ground, Carlos will be the team's leading rusher in 2013, ultimately leading to a more well-rounded offensive attack for a squad poised to chase a Championship.


Comments Show All Comments

Remington2323's picture

Braxton with 1,350 yards and El Guapo with 1,250 yards.

Aesculus.'s picture

No doubt, Carlos.  If Braxton reaches 1,200 he didn't improve enough as a passer, or he's in a hospital.

45buckshot's picture

Speak no evil!!! But I agree with the first thing you said; either this year or next year, look for BM to transform into more of a pocket passer, a la Troy in '06: his rushing yards almost were nonexistent the yr he won the Heisman (compared to previous years).
Which means Hyde should lead, unless a hybrid player takes over... I don't see anyone passing him for the short yardage runs up the middle, but if someone actually starts being as productive as Harvin from the H back spot they would get some of Hydes yards.
I'm a little nervous about the stuff I read from Hyde about trying to run away from the safeties (hoping to make a big play); I'd rather see Hyde play to his strengths. In the old days (a la Eddie), good RBs got stronger as the game wore on (and the safeties and LBs got tired) because they initiated contact--beat them up, run them over. In the 4th that safety doesn't want to make the tackle... I think this is the kind of back Hyde can be, and I'd love to hear the Urbanator say he understands sometimes you win a game by smacking the other team in the mouth. Dominant teams dominate by giving other teams the impression that they never had a chance, and I think Hyde (and this OL) could dominate teams that way (not so much from scat backs). Beanie could do it... I think Hyde has had the sense that he could (a al Nebraska), so I'd love to see the coaches let him do it (keep calling runs to wear the other team down). 
But I don't know if they will; UM3 seems to be in love with the home run play... But I'd love to see an Eddie-against-Illinois or a Beanie-against-meatchicken type game out of Hyde this year. It would be Xmas come early... :)

“The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.”
—G.K. Chesterton

pjtobin's picture

Hyde needs a great year. So does Miller. Only Miller needs to pass for a ton more yards this year. IMHO. Hyde is my favorite back since Mo Cl. Not taking anything away from my boy, Beanie, I just love Hydes story. And his will to over come some downsides in his life!! 

Bury me in my away jersey, with my buckeye blanket. A diehard who died young. Rip dad. 

Buckeye06's picture

I can't imagine that Miller gets more yards this year, unless Hyde is injured
I think Hyde gets in the 1250 range and Miller is at about 800.  I think they want to use his legs less, and I expect (Hope??) he isn't in the 4th quarter of a lot of games since we are up by 30+

bodast67's picture

Braxton will also have a much-improved receiving unit made up of veterans Devin Smith, Philly Brown and Evan Spencer as well as budding underclassman Michael Thomas. In addition, the group will have incoming four-star James Clark as well as the aforementioned Marshall to work with.

No Chris Fields? What am I missing here?




     " I hope when I die, I die laughing"...                

ATXbucknut's picture

Agreed. I am willing to bet Fields (listed as the hybrid starter) will be a much bigger part of the offense this year than people currently realize. He is the guy that nobody is talking about; but they will be once the season begins.

whobdis's picture

I'll also throw in Corey Smith's name in there..I think he will get more time than Clark. The JC years I think have made him a bit more polished. What he does after the catch and discplinced routes may provide some elements that fill some holes we currently have.

Jeff Beck's picture

Good call, too many playmakers to name apparently. Totally forgot one. Thanks, fixed.

Gametime's picture

Too many backs in the stable now. I see Braxton taking a significant dip in rushing, but also getting a significant bump passing, especially if Urban allows Brax to pad stats in the blowouts like most of the leading passers do. 
But we're talking about splitting carries between, Brax, Hyde, Smith, Hall, Ball, EzE, Wilson, & Marshall and I've got to imagine the staff would prefer to keep Brax upright and not have him run as much given that our title chances this year hinge on the damage he can do with his arm.
Even if we're up by 3 TDs in the 4th Braxton needs to be in there at least until halfway through the quarter so he can relax and just make passes without the immediate thought of consequence and further sync his timing with his weapons in a game scenario imo. 

Between goals and achievement is discipline and consistency. That fire you have inside to do whatever you love is placed there by God. Now go claim it. ~ Denzel Washington

stacyelliott92's picture

Based on this article and what I learned during the recruiting process how many carries Hyde gets will determine how fast the younger players step up! Remember Coach Meyer is looking for play makers. Athletes with the potential to take it to the house every time they touch the ball. Another factor to consider is having as many hybrids/freak athletes on the field at the same time so they can run no huddle. No huddle wears defends down and creates mismatches. Just something to consider. Ultimately Coach Urban wants to run his offense that he is known for from Florida.


ODEEZ330's picture

EZE's dad? That's awesome. Thanks for the insight

stark county football

AndyVance's picture

Between EZE's Dad and Demetrius Knox, 11W is quickly becoming the most connected Buckeye user community on the planet! Glad to have you aboard, guys!

cajunbuckeye's picture

Just when you think it can't get any better, BAM, EZE Sr. posts. 11W is raising the bar daily.

An angry fan...rooting for an angry team...led by angry coaches

HighBallAce's picture

Mr. Elliot, would it be possible sometime for you to write up something in regards to what the recruiting process for you and your family was like? A lot of us Buckeye fans were really freaking out when EZE was considering Missouri. What was that like for you as a family? What was it like to get to walk into Coach Meyer's office and discuss your son's future?  Are you going to be able to attend many of your sons games throughout his college years? Just stuff like that that I'm sure you've probably been asked by the 11 Warriors staff.  I would personally really appreciate some insight into this topic as I consider your son my favorite recruit from the 13 class! He seems like a really good good kid and I really appreciate the fact that he is as humble as he is. 
Any insight you could give us would be greatly appreciated! 

buckeyedude's picture

OMG, this is so cool! Glad to have you and your son on board, Mr. Elliott! And your post is spot on!



spqr2008's picture

Last year, I didn't see many plays that used dual backfield backs or motion into a two back three receiver set from the shotgun.  With the ability of that set to go to multiple formations with a hybrid player who can run routes and run the ball, I can see those kinds of formations being very effective in a no-huddle situation, and allow the younger guys some playing time alongside Carlos Hyde, while making the threat from the backfield, and increasing the variety of audibles Braxton can call to confuse defenses.  While I know that one of the core concepts of Meyer's offense is to run several plays from multiple formations, that is definitely made easier by using a hybrid player or using motion to rapidly change formations and create mismatches.

Boom777's picture

Please be Carlos, if it is that means Braxton has improved greatly as a passer!

Wherever you are, there you be!

osubuck57's picture



45has2's picture

It has to be Mr. Hyde. Brax needs to give the ball up much more often this year. Whether that's passing, pitching or handing off he needs to get the ball into other play makers' hands. His special running ability needs to be saved along with his body for key situations. However, I hope he doesn't try to pass down field at all costs as Troy Smith sometimes did later in his career. It's a tricky balance, but between Brax, UFM & Herman I think they will get it fine tuned.

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

Dublin68's picture

1650 for Hyde
879 for Miller

mh277907's picture

Damn you, 11W. Everyday I sit here and wish away my summer in anticipation of football.


Hovenaut's picture

Spread the rock, a healthy workhorse leading the ground assault.

Has to be El Guapo.

QBYBuckeye's picture

I love Hyde for the leading rusher and possible 1st round draft choice as a result of his dominance.  Hopefully, Miller will do more than run after his first passing option is not there.  If he learns to be a QB, trust the people around him, and use his athleticism to buy time, the new punter may have a year to develop before he is needed. 

New York Buckeye

cajunbuckeye's picture

The article has my head spinning. Miller, Hyde, Smith, Dunn, Ball, behind the best offensive line we've seen for quite a few seasons. Smith, Brown, Spencer, Thomas, Fields, wreaking havoc downfield. I CAN'T TAKE IT ANYMORE!! IS IT FOOTBALL YET!!!! On a calmer note, I agree that Hyde will lead in rushing yards.

An angry fan...rooting for an angry team...led by angry coaches

chirobuck's picture

You really have to watch Hyde to understand how good he is, to the national media types hes just a big bruising back that puts up decent numbers, when you watch you realize he could be putting up much bigger numbers if he wasn't sharing carried with the QB and a stacked stable of backs.  and I think the most impressive thing about him as a runner is his vision, he sees and follows his blocks so well and yet that never really seems to get mentioned, he has deceptive shiftiness and good hands.....this guy is going to be a fantastic pro and if he were somewhere else he would be getting talked about a lot more


^ best post ever ^

coke's picture

No one in the national media wants to give Hyde any love.  If he played on an SEC team we would be hearing about how great he was every five minutes from ESPN.  He is a complete back who can do everything.
We are lucky that he stayed for his senior year, had he turned pro he probably would have owned the combine and been the first RB taken in April's draft.

BrewstersMillions's picture

 No one in the national media wants to give Hyde any love.  If he played on an SEC team we would be hearing about how great he was every five minutes from ESPN.  He is a complete back who can do everything.


BrewstersMillions's picture

If Braxton Miller and Carlos Hyde play all 12 games and Hyde leads in rushing, that means 12 teams not named Ohio State are in store for (+1 for the reference) a fuckin good kickin.
Miller will get his yards just fine. If Hyde has more than him, that means Hyde is consistently gaining on the ground. If that's the case, OSU might be indefensible.

droessl's picture

With more weapons ar WR, Hall coming back from injury, and Braxton (hopefully) being an even better passer, I see Miller getting the ball to players in space this season where they would have been scrambles last season. Total stab in the dark, but I don't see Miller hitting 1,000 yards on the ground, and I think Hyde will eclipse that number.
I'll be far from upset if I'm wrong and they both are north of 1,200 though. 

otrain2416's picture

I really don't see Braxton for rushing for more yards than Hyde this year. We have way too many running backs in the stable, Braxton's passing looked exponentially better in the spring game, and as the year went on the staff was much more cautious with Braxton after he went down with injuries in a few games. So excited for football season!

We were born to love Ohio State and hate that team up north.

nfischer's picture

It will not be good news for 2013 if Braxton outpaces El Guapo!! I'm hoping for a 900 yards (Miller) / 1200 yards (Hyde) season. Go Bucks!

OldColumbusTown's picture

I see Hyde leading the team in rushing next year with Braxton seeing far fewer total rushing attempts.  However...
I don't think Braxton's total rushing output will be too far off what we witnessed last year, but his YPA will most likely increase greatly.  The key?  Scrambling when it is available, especially early and late in games.
Braxton has not been as good a runner when scrambling.  He's sort of the anti-Pryor.  TP was an unbelievable scrambler, but could not execute a called QB run.  Braxton is deadly on the called runs, but struggles when the play breaks down in recognizing open running lanes.  The most important thing, to me, for this offense next year is for Braxton to improve as a passer not only in his accuracy and coverage-reading ability, but also in identifying when he can scramble for an easy 10-15 yards.
If he can show that off to opponents early in games, they'll adjust and it will open up more passing options.  And then, vice versa.  Either way, the defenses have to be kept honest by all means, and Braxton's scrambling ability is just as important, if not moreso, than anything else.

Run_Fido_Run's picture

Good points. I'm penciling in Hyde to go for about 1,300 yards with most of that production in the first halves of games, while Braxton's designed carries and option-keepers go down by a good margin.
However, if the offense is as versatile and deadly as I expect it to be, and Braxton's efforts to improve his "chaos mechanics" translate into better throwing-on-the-run and down field scrambling instincts, Braxton might also break off a number of long, electrifying runs, including on "broken plays." It was hard enough for defenses to defend Braxton last year when he was the focal point of a productive, but not yet ultra-dynamic offense. Put the entire package together and Braxton might have several games where he throws for 200+ yards while rushing for like for 120 yards on only 7 carries/scrambles.

OldColumbusTown's picture

Exactly, and most of the time when you have only 7 carries for 120 yards, you have a few rushing TDs.
The evolution of Braxton as a passer is hopefully what will make him into a legitimate Heisman contender/winner this season and next.  It is the sole reason Johnny Manziel won the Heisman last year.  He put up really good passing numbers in the Air-Raid offense (who hasn't), but he was extremely effective and efficient when he scrambled.  I think we all would agree Braxton has better rushing "skills" when compared to Manziel, but didn't put it all together as a passer/scrambler last season like Manziel did.  If he can get defenders turning their heads, and then take off with downfield blockers... watch out!

CentralFloridaBuckeye's picture

I'm gonna go with Braxton since I do think there will be more running backs sharing the load.  Braxton will improve as a passer.   We will protect him better, but when Braxton sees an opening he is going to take it and make the defense pay!  As long as he stays healthy, keepin my fingers crossed, and his passing improves like everyone has been saying then I think he will challenge for the Heisman trophy and win it! 
Go Bucks!!

rightfield's picture

Here's to hoping that Braxton is 100% all season and that he is the 3rd leading rusher on the team with about 750 yrds. That would be the best case scenario for the season.

Its good to be the king

hetuck's picture

Carlos Hyde. I expect fewer called QB runs except when needed. Remember the Denard TD from the diamond? Expect the favor returned in Ann Arbor. No need to run it against the lesser lights. I do expect bigger plays when he does run and it all starts with a big RB busting tackles inside. That opens up everything else. 

Winning is a habit. Unfortunately, so is losing.

Vince Lombardi

unholy bucknut's picture

Barring any unforseen injuries i totally agree Carlos is going to lead us in rushing. Miller is going to hit more home runs as a rusher than Hyde. I think thats to be expected. But Miller's hit count HAS to go down this year. I think thats a forecast for a heavy dose of #34.

Knarcisi's picture

El Guapo.  No one should want Miller running that much and taking that beating.  I'll take 1200 from Carlos, and 800 from Braxton ... and approaching 3,000 in the air. 

Citrus's picture

El Guapo is going to make opposing Ds look like Stan Drayton 1347 yards 11 TDs

Brax will throw for 2,300 yards 22 TDs 7 rushing TDs 750 rushing yards

Lots of this

IBleedSandG's picture

Brax threw for 2039 and 15 TDs last year. I think his passing yards take a much bigger jump than 300 yds.


Patriot4098's picture

1300 for El Guapo, and 8 for Miller.  Love me some Braxton Miller, but I think Hyde deserves his own Heisman campaign.

"Evil shenanigans!"     - Mac

buckeyedude's picture

I was a fan of El Guapo when it was uncool to be so. Will miss him more than Beanie next year, when he moves to NFL, with all due respect to Beanie.



pduncan710's picture

According to ESPNs UFMs National Champ Florida team in 2008 averaged 39 carries and 23.5 pass attempts per game. OSU in 2012 averaged 46.5 carries and 23.2 pass attempts per game. Hyde averaged 18.5 carries in each of the 10 games he played. Braxton averaged 19 carries with the remaining 9 carries per game split between Smith, Dunn, etc. 
With the continued use of the no-huddle (which I don't think Florida used in 2008) let's assume they average 25 pass attempts and 45 carries a game. 
I'd like to see the carries split something like this:

  • Hyde - 16-20
  • Braxton - 8-12
  • H-Back Hall/Wilson/Marshal - 7-10
  • #2 RB Smith/Dunn/etc - 7-10

I think this would keep all of the mouths fed, keep bodies fresh for the length of the season, and limit the hits on Braxton.