COLUMBUS — Ask most people what an Urban Meyer running back looks like and they’d probably think of smaller backs with sprinters speed, like he had at Florida with Percy Harvin and Jeff Demps.
Even Ohio State’s current No. 1 running back Carlos Hyde thought that when he was growing up in Naples, Fla.
So, with that image in mind he signed up to play for Ohio State, where he thought a 235-pound running back was a better fit.
Funny how that worked out. Meyer is at OSU and Hyde has fit into his offense very well.
Hyde’s career-best 156 yards rushing in a 52-49 win over Indiana last Saturday was his second consecutive 100-yard game this season. After missing two games with a sprained knee ligament, he has emerged as a running threat to take some heat off quarterback Braxton Miller.
“He’s a load, he’s a load. He gives us all 235 pounds,” Ohio State running backs coach Stan Drayton said. “I think people underestimate his speed at times. When he gets into the mindset and rhythm of anticipating where the runs and seams are going to be he can become a really effective back and a thorn in people’s side.”
Hyde rushed for more than 100 yards twice last season but was seldom seen after Dan Herron returned from an NCAA suspension. In the first two games after Herron came back, Hyde got three carries for eight yards.
His frustration boiled over when he went on Twitter and tweeted that if Ohio State didn’t want him maybe he would have to go somewhere else.
“I think he was under the impression he got a raw deal last year,” said Drayton, who was OSU’s receivers coach a OVERSET FOLLOWS:year ago.
“He was somewhat selfish in that respect. Just like any athlete, you get this high impression of yourself. At the same time you want that individual to have confidence in his skill level. It’s a double-edged sword and he is falling on the right side of the sword now.”
Hyde deflected the credit to the offensive line after the Indiana game. “When they go, we go. And we were going pretty good today,” he said.
Hyde is not the first big back Meyer has used. Ohio State fans probably remember DeShawn Wynn, who was Florida’s top running back in the 2006 national championship game. He was 5-11 and weighed 238 pounds.
OSU rushed for 353 yards against Indiana and had 371 yards on the ground in a 63-38 win over Nebraska two weeks ago.
“It’s weird. With Coach Meyer, everyone thought we’d be throwing the ball everywhere but I would say we probably have one of the best rushing attacks in the country,” wide receiver Jake Stoneburner said after the win over Indiana.
“With Carlos and Rod (Smith) coming along pretty well, and then with Braxton probably being the best runner in the country, I’d say people have a lot to worry about with our rushing attack.”