Hyde seeking big senior season

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COLUMBUS, Ohio -- When Carlos Hyde first studied Urban Meyer's spread offense, he admittedly had some concerns. For the 6-foot, 242-pound Ohio State running back, big bodies carrying the ball weren't commonplace during Meyer's six seasons at Florida- at least not at the position that he plays.

"I was like, I don't see no big dude running around, except for Tim Tebow, and he's the quarterback," Hyde said, referencing the former Gators Heisman Trophy winner. "I don't play quarterback."

Any worries that Hyde had about being a forgotten man in Meyer's first season in Columbus, however, were quickly put to rest. Alongside quarterback Braxton Miller, the Naples, Fla. native played a key role in the Buckeyes possessing the nation's 10th ranked rushing offense in 2012, running for 970 yards and a team-high 16 touchdowns in 10 games.

Hyde's rushing style might not have been reminiscent of of the smaller speedsters like Jeff Demps and Chris Rainey that Meyer coached at Florida, but that didn't stop him from coming 30 yards shy of becoming the second 1,000-yard rusher of his head coach's 11-year career (Miller was the first).

"It actually works out pretty good though. The spread is a power spread," Hyde said. "It's actually good for the big backs, so I don't have a problem with it at all."

According to Ohio State running back's coach Stan Drayton, Hyde's emergence in 2012 had more to do with a change in his mindset than it did the new scheme that he was playing in. After Hyde received sporadic playing time in the first two years of his college career and even publicly threatening to transfer in 2011, Drayton said that he underwent a transformation in his junior season, which saw him named a second-team All-Big Ten selection.

"Carlos matured and became more than just about Carlos. That was the difference in his approach to the football field last year," Drayton said. "He cared more about his team, he became more of a teammate, that's definitely the direct reason why he had the success that he had last year."

Following the Buckeyes' season-ending win over Michigan on Nov. 24, Meyer said that he believed that Hyde has the potential to be one of the best running backs in the country in 2013. His success, however, left many wondering if Hyde would seize that opportunity, or ride his momentum into the 2013 NFL Draft.

The Naples high school product admitted that he briefly flirted with the idea of foregoing his senior season of eligibility, but ultimately decided that there was more money to be made by returning to an OSU offense that will bring back nine starters from its 2012 squad.

"I thought about it. I really thought hard," Hyde said. "Then my whole offense came back, so I was like, it wouldn't be bad if I did come back and get my stock up, so yeah, why not?"

In an effort to raise his profile as a professional prospect and reach the 1,000-yard mark, Hyde's been working on becoming a more elusive play who's capable of making would-be tacklers miss on a more consistent basis. His longest rush of 2012 went for 29 yards, but the senior-to-be said to expect more big plays from him during his final season in Columbus.

"When I did watch film of myself I was just like, dang, if I could've just made this dude miss, I would've been gone and maybe if I would've made a different read on a certain run, I could've been gone," Hyde said. "That's what I got another year for."

Hyde's not limiting his goals in 2013 to individual ones. With the Buckeyes coming off of an undefeated season in their first year under Meyer, Ohio State's top running back sees no reason why he can't cap off his college career with a national championship with a coach who's already won two of them.

"I want to come back and get 1,000 yards and raise that crystal ball," Hyde said.