Hyde Ready For Breakout Season

Ohio State junior running back Carlos Hyde has enjoyed the feeling of being on the verge of becoming the Buckeyes' starter. As fall camp continues, Hyde feels it again. This time, he doesn't plan on that feeling being temporary.

Carlos Hyde remembered when he felt this a year ago. This time, the junior running back doesn't anticipate having the feeling taken away.

There were instances during his sophomore season where Hyde thought it was his turn to become Ohio State's featured back. Boom Herron was suspended and the big back thought he was playing the best football of his career.

Then Herron returned and Hyde sat.

"Last year was like a roller coaster," Hyde said. "Sometimes I'm out there and had good games then the next game I don't get in at all."

The most dramatic instance of Hyde's up-and-down season came when he was left out of the Illinois game after a performance the previous week at Nebraska where the running back rushed the ball 13 times for 104 yards and scored two touchdowns.

At the time, Hyde wasn't interested in being patient. Instead, he took his vast frustration out on the public when sending out messages on Twitter than implied he was thinking of taking his talents to another program.

In the time since, Hyde understands his reaction wasn't the right one. Some find it hard to blame the running back for his knee-jerk reaction. However, Hyde took some valuable advice from his teammates and hopes to build on it as a junior.

"I got down about it like in the Illinois game, but a couple of older guys told me to be patient and ‘your time is going to come soon,'" Hyde said. "I just sat back and was just patient. I'm just being patient the rest of the year after that, just waiting for my turn. Whenever I had the opportunity to get out there, I was going to just take advantage of the opportunity."

Now with a new staff under Urban Meyer, Hyde has the biggest opportunity of his career. This time, the running back plans on performing well enough to change it from just an opportunity to a major – and consistent – role in this year's offense.

Hyde has been the first team running back during the early portions of fall camp, but that could be in part because projected starter Jordan Hall has been limited as he recovers from foot surgery after stepping on a piece of glass during the summer.

But Hyde is out to prove that he isn't the back many thought he was when he arrived at Ohio State. Even with Hall missing action, Hyde feels he's proficient enough with speed and catching ability to be used in the ways the coaching staff intended to with the senior.

"I'm not trying to be cocky, but I feel like I can play any position you put me in," Hyde said. "If I can learn it, I'm sure I can execute at that position. I worked on (pass catching) quite a lot in the summer workouts. I'm kind of big on catching. I like to walk around and tell everybody I have the best hands on the team. I think I'm pretty good at catching."

Hyde still is a big-bodied runner, but he isn't the one-dimensional back many envisioned he was when he arrived on campus two years ago. The junior weighs 232 pounds – which is down from 240 he played at last year – but he said he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.43 seconds, which makes the coaching staff more than content with his weight.

Still unfulfilled from a sophomore campaign that consisted of 566 rushing yards and six touchdowns, Hyde hopes he won't see the sideline as a junior unless the defense is on the field. Particularly with Hall sidelined, the staff will rely on Hyde to help Ohio State overcome early-season offensive growing pains.

"I feel like I need to prove that I'm a more physical runner than what they think I am," Hyde admitted. "In the spring I had a little injury. I wasn't as physical as I should be. This fall camp I'm going to show them what I'm really capable of. I wouldn't say hurting people because that's my teammates, but making them not want to tackle me."

Hyde has that familiar feeling again. This time he doesn't plan on losing it.

"I feel like my time is now," he said. "This year I feel like I just need to get out there and play my game. I can't wait to get out there the first game. I'm excited. I just can't wait."

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