Well-Read Hyde Seeks Playing Time

Getting to Ohio State was a long journey for Carlos Hyde, taking him from Florida to a military academy to Columbus. After learning about himself along that ride, Hyde's newest quest is to see the field for the Buckeyes in 2010.

When Carlos Hyde arrived at Ohio State, there were two books for him to study.

The Buckeyes' playbook was required new reading for the burly tailback.

"The Winners Manual" provided by head coach Jim Tressel was not.

That's not to say that Hyde had no interest in the binder Tressel prepares for each of his players about not only football but life in general. It's just that Hyde already was familiar with the book – or at least the version Tressel had published in 2008.

"I actually read ‘The Winners Manual' when I was in military school," Hyde said, referencing his trip last year to Fork Union (Va.) Military Academy. "I learned that Coach Tressel is a caring and loving guy and he's always there for his family and is a very special guy."

"The Winners Manual" was just one of the many books Hyde read while at Fork Union. Favorites included "Native Son," a 1940 novel by Richard Wright about an African-American male living in poverty in Chicago, and Tony Dungy's book, "Uncommon."

But as Hyde attempts to earn a role at one of the deepest positions in the Ohio State offense, he's pared his literary tastes down to one book.

"Right now, the only thing I'm reading is plays," the freshman said.

He's also making them, enough in each practice to turn heads. Though the Buckeyes have a deep stable of running backs led by returning starters Brandon Saine and Dan Herron, Hyde is doing everything he can to put his name into the mix by showing his power and surprising quickness in practice.

Those in charge of making the decisions about playing time are noticing.

"He has all the pieces," running backs coach Dick Tressel said. "He's big and strong, he can catch it, he's tough and more than happy to block. He's got all the pieces."

Included in that mix for the 6-0, 238-pounder is a motor that never stops running. Hyde always seems to be going forward in practice, keeping his thick legs churning in an attempt to pick up more yards.

"I like yards after contact," said Hyde, Scout.com's No. 1-rated fullback in the class of 2009.

But that's not all he brings to the table. Herron noted Hyde has speed for a big guy, and the man himself says he's more than just a Howitzer going up the middle trying to move the pile.

"I'm a power back with speed," he said with a smile. "I can break away when I get into the open field. Most people probably don't think that, but I can get it going."

Hyde, who attended high school in Naples, Fla., didn't have a chance to do that last year for the Buckeyes when an academic issue forced him to Fork Union. After one semester at the school, he transferred to Ohio State in time for winter quarter and took part in spring drills.

He said the detour had a positive effect on him.

"It made me stronger," Hyde said. "Since I went to the military school, that really got me focused on life and on football, knowing what I want to do in life. I had plenty of time to sit there and think about what I needed to do to get to Ohio State."

And yes, his goal all along was to make it to Ohio State. Though Hyde could have reopened his recruitment, he was determined to arrive in Columbus and received encouragement from Tressel along the way.

"He kept on me to get the job done and stay focused," Hyde said. "It was some hard time in there, but I just had to stay focused. I knew where I wanted to go. My whole mind-set was to get back to Ohio State. I signed here. I wasn't going to back out on them and change my mind."

Though Hyde has impressed so far, Tressel noted he's still a young player who has things to learn. At the top of the list is the bugaboo for every young player: consistency.

"He's only played Ohio State football for a few practices and a few plays," Tressel said. "We need to see (what he can do) several more times to know that, ‘Hey, when I send Carlos on the field, he's going to be happy out there and all the people and the stands are too.' "

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