Ohio State Can't Replace Carlos Hyde, But It Can Try to Replicate His Production

By Patrick Maks on August 18, 2014 at 1:05p
Replacing Carlos Hyde is impossible, but Ohio State can try to replicate his production.
Eleven Warriors' 2014 Ohio State Football Season Preview

How you do replace Carlos Hyde, you ask? Well, for starters, you don’t.

The former Ohio State running back stampeded his way to 1,521 yards and 15 touchdowns last season and, behind an offensive line that seemed invincible, he vaulted himself into school lore with quick feet that moved like pistons and a forte for running defenders over.

It’s why the Buckeyes can’t and won’t replace Hyde in 2014. He was too good, and the way he complimented quarterback Braxton Miller in a historically powerful running game was too good. But you better believe Meyer and Co. will try and replace his production.

“This is the Ohio State University and it’s the next man up,” running backs coach Stan Drayton said last March. “I’m sure if you ask Carlos Hyde, he’ll tell you the same thing. It’s the next man up, so somebody’s gotta step up fill the shoes of Carlos Hyde.”

But, boy, those are awfully big shoes. The Buckeyes have enlisted sophomore Ezekiel Elliott, redshirt senior Rod Smith, true freshman Curtis Samuel and redshirt sophomores Bri’onte Dunn and Warren Ball to do so. It’s a tall order for a stable of talented, yet unproven, running backs.

“I’m a little concerned,” Meyer said at Big Ten Media Days. “I see several talented players, but for some reason they haven’t played very well.”

But don’t take that completely the wrong way. Elliott – despite having wrist surgery two Saturdays ago – is projected to start against Navy Aug. 30 in Baltimore. Meyer told ESPN that Samuel, who has yet to play a down of collegiate football, has “stolen his heart.” Meyer’s even showing love to Smith and Dunn, a pair of chronic underachievers. Ball has slipped off the radar with a foot injury. 

“I give credit to Bri’onte and Rod Smith, every day they’ve showed up and they’ve worked their tails off so they’re in the mix,” Meyer said Saturday.

There's talent in the room, and Meyer can see that. He's also keenly aware that, currently, none of them are quite the player Hyde was. One man can't fill his shoes.

“I think we’re going to have to have somewhat of a rotation,” Meyer said. “Carlos was a 25, 30 carries-a-game type guy. We’re going to have to be more balanced. You might see us play two of those guys at the same time.”

Added Drayton: “I’m always gonna operate under the notion that I need at least three. I need at least three. And there’s five of them.”

Because none of are quite as experienced as Hyde, either.

“We have three guys who have been here a couple years and haven’t played. “It’s not because of Carlos Hyde. If you’re a great player, we can do something to get you on the field.”

Elliott saw the field in spurts last season as a true freshman and rushed for 262 yards. Outside of garbage time, Smith and Ball watched mostly from the sidelines and combined for 193 yards. Dunn took a redshirt after playing here and there his freshman year. Samuel was playing high school football in Brooklyn last fall.

“Rod Smith is talented, he just has to put everything together. Then you have Bri’onte Dunn and Warren Ball," Meyer said. There’s a lot of competition. There’s no hierarchy. I anticipate midway through training camp we’ll go ahead and announce the starter.”

But don’t conflate starter for superstar. Ohio State can’t replace Hyde, but it can do the best to mitigate his loss. 


Comments Show All Comments

dubjayfootball90's picture

Hyde going to do big things in the NFL. Very interested to see the backs that emerge after his departure in games this season.

You can feed a bobcat all the chili it wants. That don't mean it's going to crap out diamonds.

Barnsey69's picture

El Guapo cannot be replaced per say, but I would argue that the production can. In fact, as long as the air attack is operating as expected, the running lanes should be there for "insert rock-toter" all year. Biggest difference is obviously The Guaps never (well rarely) took a loss on his carries, which will be hardest to duplicate. You never know...one of these guys may be even better, that's the beauty of Buckeye's depth.

Thank the Maker that I was born in Ohio, cradle of coaches, US Presidents, confederate-stomping Generals, and home of The Ohio State University Football Buckeyes- 2014 UNDISPUTED National Champions!

YTOWNBUCKI's picture

History would dictate that there is always the next guy in line.  Is that guy on this team right now?  Only time will tell but it's going to be fun to watch and find out.

CJDPHoS Board of Directors

Go get your shine box, Gumar!

+1 HS
hetuck's picture

1,521 yards and he missed the first three games? What could have been....

Winning is a habit. Unfortunately, so is losing.

Vince Lombardi

+2 HS
BuckToAsT's picture

I mean, you have to estimate a good 300-400 yards against FAMU, right? 500

Citrus's picture

Good way to put it. Hyde isn't replaceable. Perhaps the stable of guys we have will equal the same production statistically. However, the aura that Hyde had is not going to soon be replaced. When Hyde got the ball, everyone in the stadium from the opposing D, to the opposing coach, to the fans in the stands, to Hyde himself felt knew he wouldn't be stopped. It was deflating for opponents. Hyde was running up to defenders and stealing their lunches and no one could stop him. He fed off their tears and broken souls.


+4 HS
BuckminsterFullback's picture

He fed off their tears and broken souls.

11W: you'll come for the news, you'll stay for the poetry.

+3 HS
Citrus's picture

Thanks, I wrote it at Denny's at 3am drinking coffee all night and focusing on my pain.


+1 HS
Run_Fido_Run's picture

. . . stealing their lunches and no one could stop him . . .

Whew, I thought you were talking about Jayru Cambell for a second.  

+1 HS
CHUCKMEGA's picture

I I would love to see more swing passes, screens, and emptying out the back field to use Elliots speed.

AndyVance's picture

The truly exciting thing is that two years ago, no one expected El Guapo to be the legend that he is today. One of these young Bucks can just as likely spring onto the scene and become a household name. Next man up.

+3 HS
CGroverL's picture

I expected it. I just expected his real Buckeye career to start in 2011. Unfortunately, everyone thought way too much of Jordan Hall and Dan Herron got the #1 spot after returning from suspension, so..... Hyde never saw the field again until 2012. I loved Dan Herron as he was a power rusher in a speedy back's body, but Hyde was still at 240 pounds and running faster than ANY RB on the squad in 2011. Hyde was robbed, he made his text, and then shut up....After that he just ran, ran, and ran and would have won the Heisman trophy after close to a 2,000 yard season.

It can be amazing what some players can do if you give them a chance. Rod Smith is a 5th year senior, I hope he gets half the chance that Jordan Hall did.

"I hope they're last in everything". One of Meyer's comments when speaking of TTUN after being hired at Ohio State.



-2 HS
BucksfanXC's picture

I'm expecting to see a lot of the "diamond" formation we saw a few times last year. Lots of talent to stack up back in the backfield

“Any time you give a man something he doesn't earn, you cheapen him. Our kids earn what they get, and that includes respect.”  - Woody

Toilrt Paper's picture

By committee, a beast like Hyde doesn't come along very often

osu78's picture

I always love the "How do you replace (Archie Keith Eddie Maurice Beanie ...)?" line of thought. Not to take anything away from his talent or what he accomplished, but it seems that we've been lucky to have a bench strength that keeps replacing the unreplaceable. A combination of winning, great coaching and talent recognition sure doesn't hurt.

If a rotation gives each guy a chance to be the breakout player while adding some different looks for defenses then it could be a god thing. Having the young guys get some experience can't hurt either.

+1 HS
D-Day0043's picture


You took the words right out of my mouth. ;-)

I am D-Day0043 and I approve this message.

PasadenaBuckeye626's picture
Going to miss him, but I expect the next guy in line to produce

Go Bucks!

TURD_BUCKET's picture

He will be missed, regardless of who / what happens this year.  The combination / threat of Carlos AND Braxton was magic.

“Being average means you are as close to the bottom as you are to the top.” John Wooden

TossTrap's picture

Hyde is the model for every back, "this next play might be my last and it's going to mean something".

First and goal at the five and Arch is getting the ball.

+1 HS
Bucksfan70's picture

hall was hydes backup last year and (IMO) the guys we have fighting for the #1 job are way, way better than he was. so i don't have any concerns who replaces hyde. i think either smith or eze could go for, at least ,1,500 or more.

i'm looking forward to seeing the next legendary rb emerge and and i'm not looking at it like, "what do we do now." i'm too excited for this years group to even think about last year.

“Today I will do what others won't, so tomorrow I can accomplish what others can't.” - Jerry Rice

HotSauceCommittee's picture

Couple of Hyde-related comments. (1). I rewatched the 2012 OSU-MI game and the 2013 OSU-MI game recently. Hyde was just a beast. Besides his fumble in the 2nd half of last years GAME (which turned the momentum toward MI), he made solid plays, big plays and flex your muscles plays over and over again. (2). His blocking will be missed (lead blocking and pass pro). (3). Hyde doesnt get suspended, he is probably a Top 3 Heisman candidate and (4). How in the bloody hell did this guy not play more his sophomore year, especially since Boom was suspended much of the season. Maybe he wasnt ready, maybe he was held back for upperclass man.

Silver Bullet 10's picture

Hyde was an average power back in 2012. Hyde was the #1 running back in the country in 2013. I would have CONSIDERED taking him over a healthy Gurley.

Jdadams01's picture

Hyde was an average power back in 2012. Hyde was the #1 running back in the country in 2013. I would have CONSIDERED taking him over a healthy Gurley.

Fixed it for you. 

Montana silver bullet's picture

Todd Gurley is a stud.  Reminds me of Beanie Wells----has anyone thought of Beanie behind last years line?  Unfreaking stoppable! and I'm not downplaying El Guapo by any means. Bad Ass O-line = Production with a less capable back than any of the above. Hyde had the perfect build for running between the tackles, Dunn might have the best body for the inside game but the others offer more versatility and will be great fun to watch them develop and compete. I agree with Andy Vance that we don't always know who the next stud will be until he breaks out. 12 days and counting boys! 

Montana Silver Bullet

cw823's picture

Trent Richardson also played behind a great line in college.  But Hyde has actual talent.

Cusbuck's picture
I am gonna miss him

I'm not saying,  I'm just saying.

+2 HS
Citrus's picture

Watch Brown on that play. He thought El Guapo was going down for a second and recovered from his celebration nicely to make a great block.

Last year's WRs were the best blocking group of receivers I can remember.

+1 HS
D-Day0043's picture

Last year's WRs were the best blocking group of receivers I can remember.

Yes they were! 

I am D-Day0043 and I approve this message.

D-Day0043's picture

Pure badassery... I know that's not a real word, but that was the first thing that came to mind to describe that run. 

I am D-Day0043 and I approve this message.

BuckminsterFullback's picture

Pure badassery... I know that's not a real word

Well, ... it is now.

+1 HS
GreatLakesBeer's picture

I'm one of Hydes biggest fans, but i do think we can replace his production. I'm not so sure we can replace RDS

If you will it dude, it is no dream

whiskeyjuice's picture

What if the ball was given to Hyde to run in between the tackles on that 4th down call against Sparty? Anybody think he would have picked up that first down? I'm not second guessing the coaches call, just always wondered if the ball could have been given a few more times to Hyde last year.

"Championships are not won on Saturdays in November. Championships are won on Tuesdays in August." -- Kerry Combs

+2 HS
D-Day0043's picture

You and me both...

Hyde shot the gap on the lead block on that play and put his man on his a$$. 

There is no doubt in my mind that if Hyde was carrying the ball on that play he would have got a first down. He would have hit the hole with authority instead of trying to run laterally. 

I am still scratching my head as to why Herman would call a edge play to the short side of the field. Miller could have outran his man if he had enough room.

I am D-Day0043 and I approve this message.

Brutus1972's picture

I honestly think that by the time that all is said and done that EZE will be better than Carlos, just not quite there yet. Let's not act like you will be able to make a fair comparison of any RB we play this year to Carlos based entirely off of the difference in OL talent alone. Thank you El Guapo but it's the next man up at tOSU.

BuckminsterFullback's picture

To me, the most impressive aspect of Hyde's performance was the 7.3 yards per carry, combined with the fact that he had only 1 or 2 carries for negative yards all season.

My impression is that most guys with a high average per carry are the high-risk, high-reward guys, who frequently reverse direction, looking for the big breakaway. They hit some big gainers, but they also turn a lot of 1st and 10's into 2nd and 15's.

Hyde, in contrast, ran more north-and-south. His breakaways came because he was just too damn hard to tackle.

I am confident that the "next man up", whether it's Elliott, Smith, or Dunn, will be productive, and maybe even occasionally spectacular. But if they match Hyde's performance, running behind an inexperienced OL, I'll consider it a pleasant surprise.