Ohio State Football: Carlos Hyde Is Key to Development of Buckeyes' Offense

Ian Hanford@Ian_HanfordFeatured ColumnistNovember 1, 2012

BLOOMINGTON, IN - OCTOBER 13:  Carlos Hyde #34 of the Ohio State Buckeyes runs with the ball during the game against the Indiana Hoosiers at Memorial Stadium on October 13, 2012 in Bloomington, Indiana.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Braxton Miller's production is a given at this point in Urban Meyer's offense, but he can't do it alone forever.

The dynamic dual-threat quarterback needs some help, and that's where Carlos Hyde comes in. He's not a home-run threat out of the backfield like Tim Tebow had under Meyer at Florida, but he's a consistent north-south runner who complements Miller perfectly.

Miller is essentially a running back. Yes, he can throw, but watching this kid run one time will show you how gifted he is on his feet.

Adding Hyde to the equation makes Miller's read-option play more dangerous because it forces teams to focus on two players and not just one. No matter how great Miller is, elite defenses will find a way to slow him down sooner or later. Stopping him completely won't happen, but any dip in production from the quarterback could be enough to hurt Ohio State in a big way.

The stability Hyde provides is unlike anything that the Buckeyes have. Miller doesn't have a top-notch receiving corps to work with, and the defense has underachieved up to this point. Meyer's group is still young, but these are still the things Miller has to cope with for better or worse.

Hyde started the year slow, but has eight touchdowns in his last four games. Two of those games were 140-plus-yard performances, including a game against Indiana where he averaged over seven yards per carry.

Not only does he help Miller out of the option, but his stocky frame lines up very well out of the I-formation. This makes the entire offense more versatile because it allows Meyer to play different sets, keeping the defense off balance.

Ohio State is undefeated for a reason, and that's Miller, but Hyde has made people realize that he's a viable No. 2 option alongside the Heisman hopeful. For now, and next season, that must continue. The continued improvement of Meyer's offense depends on it.

The Big Ten should already be scared of Miller, but Hyde makes him even scarier because of the attention he commands. Taking eyes off Miller and putting them on Hyde will only benefit the Buckeyes.