Hyde Making Most Of Opportunities

Carlos Hyde had a hard time adjusting back to the role of a reserve when Dan Herron returned to the team after serving a six-game suspension to start the season. Now refocused, Hyde continues to step up when given the opportunities.

Carlos Hyde was frustrated and he had an audience. The youthful running back, however, didn't think about the attention he'd attract before combining the two.

Hyde was Ohio State's featured back through the team's first six games, and he made the most of his opportunity when he had it. The sophomore rushed for 400 yards on 75 carries during that span, including a breakout 104-yard game at Nebraska.

But when senior running back Dan Herron returned from his six-game suspension to start the season, Hyde took a backseat to the prolific senior who has since become the focal point in Ohio State's offense.

It was after Ohio State's win at Illinois – Herron's first game back – when Hyde had only three carries, an immense contrast to how he had been used for the entire season leading up to that point. The running back was admittedly frustrated and he vented that displeasure on his Twitter account.

It was a lapse in judgment Hyde has since acknowledged was a mistake.

"It was tough to go from that to sitting on the sideline," Hyde said. "I had to adapt to it, be patient and wait my time. I was sure I'd have another opportunity."

With thousands of followers reading his every word, Hyde's frustration message implied he was thinking about transferring from Ohio State. Though Hyde took it down moments later, his vast audience had already received the message.

But even in the moment of weakness, Hyde didn't allow his displeasure for his playing time – or lack thereof – in the Illinois game affect his approach to the season.

"I knew I'd get another chance," Hyde said. "I just needed to get refocused."

With Jordan Hall dealing with a minor injury that would for him to miss the Indiana, Hyde's opportunity resurfaced. Walking into Ohio Stadium before the game, Hyde – who did not carry the ball in Ohio State's win against Wisconsin on Oct. 29 – said he felt rejuvenated knowing he was going to get on the field.

"It just boosted my confidence," said Hyde when describing the emotion of knowing he'd carry the ball against Indiana long before the opening kickoff. "I played the first five games so I had a good feel out there, and when I knew I was going to play, I was excited and I couldn't wait to get out there. It was just emotional."

And just like he had done early in the season as the team's primary back, Hyde made the most of his opportunity.

Relieving Herron – who had a tender ankle in the second half of the Buckeyes' win over Indiana – in the tailback rotation, Hyde carried the ball 15 times for 105 yards and scored the game-clinching touchdown on a 2-yard run just moments after putting Ohio State in position with a 47-yard burst down the sideline.

"I think it's a great example," head coach Luke Fickell said after the game. "We keep harping on our guys all the time, you just never know when your opportunities are going to arise. There's a guy that had a 100-yard rushing game against Nebraska and hadn't seen the field a whole lot since then.

"He's kept his head up, continued to fight, battle, tried to find some other ways he could contribute when Boom and Jordan were getting the majority of the carries. Give him credit for what he's done the last few weeks until his opportunity arose."

It's still uncertain what Hyde's role will be in the Buckeyes' offense for the team's game at Purdue Saturday now that Hall could be available again from a minor ankle injury.

But Herron, who helped Hyde out during his rough weeks adjusting back to the role as a reserve, said the sophomore has continued to do what's best for his team.

"He's a great guy who's working hard and getting better every week," Herron said of Hyde. "He's got a great future ahead of him. I told him to be patient, and it would all come. It was great to see him take advantage of the opportunities."

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