When Urban Meyer was hired as head coach in November of 2011, Ohio State fans everywhere were excited to see the spread offense the Buckeyes would be implementing in 2012.
Carlos Hyde, Ohio State's 6'0", 240-pound running back, was concerned.
The Buckeyes' bruising running back had watched film of the offense Meyer orchestrated at Florida and didn't see too many players with his build lining up in the backfield. At least, he didn't see any big guys at running back.
"I was like, I don't see no big dude running around, except for Tim Tebow, and he's the quarterback," Hyde said, according to BuckeyeGrove.com. "I don't play quarterback."
In the end, Hyde's concerns would prove unnecessary, as he finished Meyer's first year in Columbus with 1,021 total yards and 17 touchdowns (16 rushing, one receiving).
He was the workhorse of the Ohio State offense down the stretch, averaging over 21 carries per game over the Buckeyes' last seven games. Those seven games included some of the most physical matchups on the Ohio State schedule, and it's no coincidence that Meyer turned to his most physical runner to produce the tough yards.
As Hyde's production increased, so did his draft stock. After Ohio State capped its perfect season with a 26-21 win over Michigan last November, Hyde was one of the few underclassmen who had a decision to ponder.
A number of NFL teams could have used Hyde's services and selected him in the later rounds, but Ohio State's soon-to-be senior running back opted to stay in school for his final year.
In Hyde's mind, there was one major aspect of his game he wanted to work on before going pro.
The big, physical running back wants to make more big plays in 2013.
Hyde didn't notch a single rush of more than 30 yards last year, a surprising stat for a back who totaled 970 rushing yards in nine-and-a-half games. Hyde suffered an early-season MCL sprain in Week 2, and when he returned three weeks later, the coaching staff wanted him to avoid dancing around defenders to prevent further injury.
Ohio State running backs coach Stan Drayton just wanted Hyde to hit the holes his offensive line created for him.
"We had to really enhance the skill of attacking defenders, getting north-south yards and not really putting as much strain on that knee, considering how it was at that time," Drayton said, according to TheOzone.net.
Because of that, Hyde didn't break away too many times when he hit the second level last year. Instead, he would lower his shoulder and get as many yards as he could when he reached the secondary. That should change next year.
"I want to be better at making the safety miss," Hyde said.
If Ohio State's bruising running back can add that element to his game, the Buckeyes offense will be much harder to stop in 2013.
David Regimbal is the lead Ohio State football writer for Bleacher Report.
Follow him on Twitter @davidreg412.
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