Faster Hyde Hoping to Make Impact

The quarterback battle for the Ohio State football team may be the most intriguing, but the running backs may have the deepest talent group. Carlos Hyde is the latest to come on strong at running back this fall.

Carlos Hyde hadn't even stopped running before he heard the loud cheers from his teammates standing behind him.

As he broke through the threshold of his 40-yard-dash attempt just a second earlier, the Florida-native had an inkling of what all the commotion was about.

Safety Orhian Johnson told him anyway.

"You just ran the fastest 40 time of all the running backs," Johnson yelled.

With just three numeric digits — 4.42 — Hyde suddenly realized during summer performance tests that perhaps his biggest weaknesses had now become an incredible strength.

"It was pretty mind blowing," Hyde said Tuesday after Ohio State's morning practice, presumably sporting the same smile he had when he first heard his time. "I wasn't expecting that. It was pretty awesome."

A big 6-foot, 238-pound back labeled with the stigma as only a short-yardage option, Hyde understood perfectly that improving his speed would likely be the key to getting him back as a viable option in Ohio State's incredibly deep backfield.

A native of Naples, Florida who used to enjoy easy access to the beach, Hyde instead spent his summer vacation in a Columbus, Ohio sandbox hoping the improved leg strength would dramatically increase his ability to make defenders miss.

"In the off-season I worked hard. I put in hard work," Hyde said. "Every day I came in during the off-season just trying to get out there and trying to get better because I know the competition is getting better, so I have to get better.

"I am just trying to be an all-around back. I will be a short down back, but I want to be the complete down. First down, everything. Not just a short down back."

If spring football reps were any indication to where Hyde would likely end up in his sophomore season, the running back seemed to be slipping to the back of the group behind fellow running backs Dan Herron, Jordan Hall and Jaamal Berry.

In the first two weeks of fall, however, Hyde has stood out as one of the most impressive players on the team, let alone the offensive backfield. An explosive version of the back formally known as only a short-yardage option has dominated the show.

"He's running the ball real hard," said Berry, who was arguably the most impressive back in the spring. "All of the backs are doing pretty well, just making each other better and going hard every play. He's more hungry."

Perhaps now is the time where Hyde can make a statement for playing time with Herron set the first five games of this season while serving a suspension for his involvement in Ohio State's infamous tattoo scandal.

The Buckeyes coaching staff is currently in the midst of sifting through the talented bunch, all of which seem to have their own specific individual characteristics that could land them on the field.

For Hyde, his characteristic used to be the pure brut force in which he runs, often preferring to run through defenders rather than around them.

Even with his newfound speed, Hyde hasn't altered his running mentality.

"I am a lot better because I can use both speed and strength to just run over people or run around somebody or hit someone with a juke move or something," Hyde said. "Then I get up north and get away from tackles.

"I am a big back, my first thing I want to do is run through somebody and not just try to shake somebody and make them miss. I want to run through them and see what happens after that."

His increase in speed has now made him a more dynamic runner, which is likely the reason for the vast increase in reps. Hyde only had 115 yards last season, but he could be quickly running back into the running backs race.

He can sense his growth when he carries the ball, but he's only concerned with getting better. That commitment, shown throughout summer, is what has him in his current position.

"We are trying to come out and getting better every day," Hyde said of the running backs' mentality. "Trying to get each other better, coming out here being explosive every day."


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