It takes just two tweets to tell you Carlos Hyde is singing a whole new song.
Last year after Ohio State beat Illinois – and he carried the ball three times for seven yards – Hyde sent out a postgame tweet via his @King_Hyde 34 that said:
“Guess I’m not good enough. Take my talents elsewhere.”
Saturday evening, right after the Buckeyes had clobbered Illinois, 52-22, at Ohio Stadium, Hyde smiled when asked what his first 140-character Twitter dispatch might be:
“When I tweet today, it’ll probably be: ‘Thanks to my offensive line. Those guys played great today.’ When they play great, I do pretty good, too.”
The bruising 232-pound junior tailback ran for 137 yards and three touchdowns Saturday. Although he has missed two of the unbeaten Buckeyes’ 10 games because of a knee sprain, he still has scored 14 touchdowns, which leads the Big 10. He also is the league’s scoring leader, averaging 10.5 points.
Last year after his “take my talents elsewhere” tiff, he did not play against Wisconsin or Michigan.
This season he already has rushed for 156 yards against Indiana. He carried the ball 28 times against Nebraska and has 737 rushing yards for the season.
Asked what has happened, Hyde barreled into the question the same way he lowers his shoulder and bulldozes into an about-to-be-flattened linebacker.
“A year ago we had a different coaching staff,” he said with a bit of a laugh. “We got a new coaching staff and they have trust in me that I can be that guy, that starting running back. It’s worked out in my favor.”
Pressed a little more though, he admitted it’s not just different coaches, it’s a different Carlos Hyde.
As things soured last season, he got a reputation that he was selfish. That he was a malcontent. For a while that was a tough knock to shake.
When Urban Meyer took over as head coach, things didn’t automatically change for Hyde. Everybody involved agrees on that.
“He was a guy who didn’t have a great reputation,” Meyer said Saturday. “I’d say our first month (together) wasn’t that pleasant.”
Hyde smiled when he heard Meyer’s assessment:
“Yeah, when we first met, I didn’t start out on a perfect foot with Coach Meyer. I didn’t know Coach and Coach didn’t know me. Basically, it was two strangers meeting. He probably heard about last year – how I wasn’t into it. We didn’t have no argument. It was just a man-to-man conversation. No BS-ing, just a real straight conversation.
“And my attitude changed. He wasn’t going nowhere and I wasn’t going nowhere. We were gonna make this thing work no matter what. And that’s what’s happened. Me and Coach Meyer have a great relationship now.”
Meyer, in fact, all but gushed about Hyde after the Illinois game:
“He’s a genuine guy. I’ve actually grown to appreciate who he is as a person. I think the (old) perception of him was incorrect. But that might have to do with the relationship with his (position ) coach. That’s real unique. They are very close. There’s good energy in that running backs room now.”
When Meyer came in, he moved Stan Drayton from the wide receivers coach he was in 2011 to the mentor of the Buckeye running backs and the switch worked wonders for Hyde, who had a bumpy past growing up in Cincinnati.
As a junior high kid there, he began hanging out with a deadbeat crowd, dropped out of football and started having minor scrapes with the law. His mom decided to ship him off to live with her mother in Naples, Fla., and the change of scenery worked wonders.
He became a football star and was recruited by several major colleges until a low ACT score derailed him to a military prep school in Virginia.
After a year there, he finally joined the Buckeyes in 2010, only to be buried on the depth chart behind Daniel “Boom” Herron and Brandon Saine.
Last year when Herron was suspended for the first six games, Hyde came in and rushed for 105 yards one game and 104 in another. But when Herron returned, he went back to the bench and his attitude took a hike as well.
Like Meyer, Hyde credits much of his current transformation to Drayton:
“He’s the best position coach I’ve ever had. He understands me well. He’s taken the time to sit down and have personal conversations with me and talk to me about my life. He understands where I’ve come from and the situations I’ve been though in my life.
“Me and Coach Drayton have a relationship that’s pretty sweet.”
And he said that’s why he’s tweeting such a new tune: “Last year, I just was disappointed that I didn’t get the playing time I thought I deserved.. But I’ve moved past that now. I have all the playing time I want … and I’m running with passion and aggression. I’m running with an attitude.
“Right now, I feel like I just can’t be brought down.”
Not by opposing defenders— not even by himself.
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