No hiding for Hyde
Buckeyes' junior running back hopeful this audition leads to a featured role
The waiting wasn't always easy.
It might not have necessarily been considered patient all the time, either.
Carlos Hyde understood when a veteran returned from suspension and was plugged back into the starting lineup as Ohio State's featured back, and Daniel "Boom" Herron's seniority didn't bother him.
But there were other situations that were a bit tougher for Hyde to swallow as he was standing on the sideline without much of an idea why he was there, particularly given some impressive performances that on at least one occasion immediately preceded a game in which he was pushed to the margins.
Now the time for standing in line appears to be over.
"I mean, last year was like a roller coaster," Hyde said Friday after the first practice of training camp. "Sometimes I'm out there, I have good games, then the next game I don't get in there at all.
"A couple older guys told me to just be patient, my time is going to come soon. I just sat back and was patient, and I had another chance, another opportunity against Indiana and had a good game against them. I mean, I was just patient the rest of the year after that and waiting for my turn."
It has arrived as practice starts for the Buckeyes, and while the circumstances might be less than ideal with projected starter Jordan Hall injured, there's nothing Hyde can do about that but try to capitalize on what should be a heavier workload earlier in the season.
The junior dropped five pounds in the offseason, though he's still a bruiser at 235 pounds. He kept his impressive speed intact through the summer and posted a time of 4.45 seconds in the 40-yard dash, and he also suggested he was healthier than he was in the spring, when a minor ankle injury might have kept him from showing his full potential off to a new coaching staff.
Hyde has also drawn praise from his teammates for what appears to be renewed dedication to the game. And that whole package seems to have raised expectations for a rushing attack that figured to lean heavily on Hall before he cut a tendon in his foot -- an injury that is expected to keep the senior out for at least the first two games.
"It's kind of bad Jordan's out, but he'll be back soon," Hyde said. " ... I have a little more weight on my shoulders since Jordan's out, but we have Rod [Smith] and Bri'onte Dunn and Warren Ball, and I'm sure those guys are going to step up.
"It was like one of your teammates went down that was going to play the same position you did, and I just felt like I really needed to step up. It's my time to really step up when he's down. Like [strength] coach Mickey [Marotti] would say, 'One soldier dropped the weapon, pick it up and keep moving.' "
Hyde is clearly ready and willing to pick up those carries and get the offense rolling early, especially considering a few lingering memories of disappointment from a year ago.
He can't go back and change what happened in a campaign that still included 566 yards and six touchdowns. But Hyde can certainly improve those numbers with a strong audition this month and when the season opens in September.
"I thought I would be fine and in the rotation way more than what I was," Hyde said. "It just taught me to be patient, don't get down on yourself, just sit back and wait because soon enough your time will come. This year I have the opportunity again to be out there.
"I feel like my time is now."