By Matt McCoy
Carlos Hyde did not do the right thing in a downtown bar back in July but since then Buckeye football coach Urban Meyer says his senior running back has done everything right.
Hyde was suspended for the first three games of the season, after being accused in a police complaint of hitting a 19-year old woman. Charges were never filed but video of the incident showed Hyde deliver a slap to the woman's cheek so Meyer leveled the punishment and got the response from Hyde he was looking for.
"I've got to make this clear that he is welcomed back," Meyer said on Tuesday's Big Ten coaches teleconference. "It's been a terrible three weeks for him but he's handled his business the right way. If he didn't handle his business the right way he wouldn't be playing in this game."
Hyde spent his time on the sidelines, helping the Buckeye defense by running tailback for Ohio State's scout team. Several of his teammates have singled out Hyde for his hard work during his suspension.
"There's two ways to handle discipline. One is to mope and complain and whine and there was none of that," Meyer said. "He handled this in a very unselfish manner..and it was made very clear to him it had to be that way because he could have come back and said 'There's nothing legally wrong with what I did,' (but) that never came up. I simply said 'This is the punishment...this is what I need you to do and you better walk a straight line here'...and he did."
Hyde was the clear starter at tailback before the incident but in his absence Jordan Hall has starred, rushing for 402 yards in three games. With Hyde returning now, Meyer called Ohio State's running back depth, "a good situation."
Meyer also has a good situation at quarterback. Braxton Miller, the reigning Big Ten MVP is probable to return from his MCL strain. In his absence, Kenny Guiton has completed 67 percent of his passes for 449 yards. He's thrown seven touchdowns with only one interception.
Meyer has said Guiton has earned playing time even after Miller returns and was asked how that might play itself out this Saturday and beyond.
"The obvious (scenarios) are, one starts and one plays a couple series," Meyer said. "The others are, if Braxton's not healthy then he's kind of a guy (there) in case there's an emergency situation. The other is maybe a couple plays with them both on the field and being creative and trying to get your best players on the field. We're still working through that."
Coming into the season, Meyer had stressed the importance of getting off to a good start in games. Last season, the Buckeyes went 12-0 but often were sluggish early on. That problem has been solved as Ohio State is outscoring its opponents 68-14 in the first quarter. What happens after that is the new concern for Meyer.
"We come out of the gate really fast...whether it be (that we have) a substantial lead or the team makes adjustments on the other side that are slowing us down or a lack of execution. Those are all what we are currently addressing right now as a staff and as a team," Meyer said. "It's the definition of consistancy."
Who Are These Guys?
The Buckeyes are favored by 57 points over Florida A&M Saturday, which is the biggest point spread I can ever remember. The Rattlers, an FCS school (formerly Division I-AA) are 1-2. They beat Mississippi Valley State in their opener but have lost consecutive games to Tennessee State and Samford.
"I see two receivers with excellent speed. They like to throw the ball downfield and their quarterback (Damien Fleming) was an all (MEAC) conference performer," Meyer said. "On defense they blitz every down so they're a 3-4 (defense) and there's always four or five men coming so you look silly if you're not protecting the quarterback or not protecting the front side of the run game."
Coach Meyer's comments
To listen to all of Coach Meyer's comments on Tuesday's teleconference click HERE: