Ohio State running back Carlos Hyde isn’t lacking in confidence. Anyone with a Twitter handle of El_Guapo34 doesn’t have self-esteem issues. El Guapo is Spanish for “The handsome one.”
But when it comes to his play on the field, Hyde admits he’s not where he wants to be in at least one area.
“I could work on my shape a little more. Sometimes I get tired — but that’s because we run the ball over and over and over,” he said.
All those carries may be leaving Hyde a bit tuckered out, but he’s not going to lobby for a lighter workload.
The 6-foot, 230-pound senior from Naples, Fla., has rushed for 464 yards and seven touchdowns in his last three games, averaging 8.3 yards per attempt.
Running behind a superior offensive line, he’s one of three players nationally with a minimum of 60 attempts to not lose a yard rushing this season.
He’s a power back with the ability to run away from defenders — as he did on a 39-yard TD against Penn State last week.
Asked how he would describe himself to others, Hyde said, “I’d keep it simple and tell them I’m a violent runner that can break away.”
The Buckeyes are second in the Big Ten and ninth nationally with 295.6 rushing yards per game, and Hyde believes that constant assault is taking the fight out of defenses.
“We like to call that ‘no mas,’ ” Hyde said, referring to the “no more” plea famously uttered by boxer Roberto Duran while quitting his fight against Sugar Ray Leonard.
“It’s pretty easy to tell when guys don’t want no more. They don’t want to tackle you no more. The offensive line is blowing guys off the ball.”
Hyde rushed for 970 yards last season in 10 games, missing two with a sprained knee. He was suspended for the first three games this season and, after a tune-up against Florida A&M (five carries, 41 yards), has averaged 137.3 yards in his four full games.
If he maintains that pace the rest of the season, he’ll finish with 1,414 (assuming the Buckeyes reach the Big Ten title game), becoming coach Urban Meyer’s first 1,000-yard running back.
“Right now kind of reminds me of my senior year in high school,” Hyde said. “My junior year, it was kind of similar to the one I had last year. I actually had 970 yards. My senior year, I came out on another level. I feel like it’s all happening again.”
Hyde had an altercation in a Columbus bar with a woman in July. And though he was never charged in the matter, Meyer slapped him with a suspension for failing to walk away.
Hyde practiced on the scout team but couldn’t attend games. Still, he trimmed excess weight during that stretch, dropping 10 pounds from last season.
Though his replacement, senior Jordan Hall, was among the top rushers in the nation after four games, Hyde quickly reclaimed the No. 1 spot.
“My relationship with coach Meyer is real good,” Hyde said. “It kind of hit a bump in the road when I got in that situation. Now, we’re back to where we started.
“But that bump in the road, it was huge. I didn’t really hear from him during that time. Now, we don’t speak on it at all. We’ve kind of put it behind us and just moved forward.”
Business trip: Junior tight end Jeff Heuerman knows the Buckeyes have lost their last two games at Purdue, and the Florida native has advice for younger players who’ve never played in Ross-Ade Stadium.
“It’s not quite Ohio State. There’s not going to be 105,000 fans there,” he said. “It’s kind of a gray city. It’s not the most beautiful city in the country. You’ve got to go there with your mind on one thing, and that’s playing football.”
Running strong: In 20 games under coach Urban Meyer, the Buckeyes have rushed for more than 300 yards six times. In the 15 years before he arrived, covering 176 games, they topped 300 seven times.
They had 408 against Penn State last week — their most since getting 409 against Illinois in 1995.
More recognition: Junior linebacker Ryan Shazier, who is leading the Buckeyes in tackles for the second straight year, was named one of 16 semifinalists for the Chuck Bednarik Award, which goes to the nation’s defensive player of the year.
He’s also a semifinalist for the Butkus Award and is a nominee for the Lott Impact Trophy.
Ohio State (8-0, 4-0 Big Ten) at Purdue (1-6, 0-3), noon, Big Ten Network, 1410