You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.


  • ePAPER

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and interactive features. Starting at just 99c for 8 weeks.


Welcome to

Your source for Clark and Champaign counties’ hometown news. All readers have free access to a limited number of stories every month.

If you are a News-Sun subscriber, please take a moment to login for unlimited access.

Meyer insists his offense is running back-friendly

Ohio State coach Urban Meyer has always put together cutting-edge offenses that have produced piles of points. But if you’re a top high school running back looking for a system that revolves around you, Meyer’s program probably isn’t the best fit.

At least that’s what opposing coaches are telling recruits — and they have some ammo to back that up.

In Meyer’s 11 previous seasons, he’s never had a 1,000-yard running back. Several backs have come close, but his spread offense has done exactly what it’s designed to do — distribute the ball to multiple playmakers.

Still, Meyer has shown he’s a fan of the power running game, and his teams need to run between the tackles to make his system work. Carlos Hyde, a 6-foot, 230-pound senior, rushed for 970 yards last year and certainly would have topped 1,000 if he hadn’t missed two games with a sprained knee.

Meyer pointed out he’s had other running backs who would have reached four digits if not for injuries. And his teams at OSU, Florida, Utah and Bowling Green have generated some prodigious rushing numbers. Six of the 11 had more than 2,700 yards collectively.

“I’m tired of hearing that, man,” Meyer said when asked about the lack of a 1,000-yard running back.

Meyer smiled as he spoke and didn’t get the least bit testy during follow-up questions. But he clearly feels he’s getting a bad rap.

“We had one guy get 970 and then one 890. And then (Florida’s) Jeff Demps was going to be that guy down there and he gets hurt,” he said.

“It’s nuts. If someone wants to question whether we run the ball effectively, I think, fairly, over 12 years, we’ve run the ball really well. Just in recruiting and all that other nonsense — we can’t anticipate guys missing games for whatever reason.”

Meyer drew laughter when he peered at his inquisitor and said: “Thanks for bringing that up. … Some guys just leave their press conferences (when they get questions they don’t like). I might start doing that.”

Meyer doesn’t find much humor, though, in the negative recruiting he encounters. He said he hears about how his offense doesn’t fit certain personnel “a couple hundred times a year.” But he and his staff are always ready to refute that.

He said some detractors say “our offensive linemen don’t get developed, and then we have all these first-round draft picks. I remember they were saying our offense doesn’t develop receivers, and then the last seven receivers we coached are not only playing, but they’re starting in the National Football League.”

As far as running backs being ill-suited for Meyer’s system, he said: “You hear it, but you just have to be armed and ready. (Recruits) see the yards per carry. They see the opportunities you get. That really helps. And then you tell them about the guys who were injured or missed games, and that they certainly would be 1,000-yard rushers.

“We even make videos, and that’s all part of the recruiting process when they come here. I’d like to think that’s why our staff is pretty good at recruiting. When a guy wants to come here, we say, ‘Here’s exactly how you’re going to be used. Here’s the results of other players that have your body type.’”

Meyer has had one 1,000-yard rusher in his career — quarterback Braxton Miller, who racked up 1,271 last season. And Hyde could crack that barrier this year despite missing the first three games because of a suspension.

After being eased back into action, he rushed for 168 yards on 26 carries against Northwestern in the Buckeyes’ last outing, bringing his season total to 294.

If he maintains his current pace of 98 yards per game, which hardly seems a stretch, he’ll hit 1,078 yards, assuming the Buckeyes play in the Big Ten title game and a bowl game.

In Meyer’s mind, Hyde is the perfect ball carrier for his system. When defenses are spread out across the width of the field, bulky backs are tough to bring down in one-on-one situations.

The Buckeyes also have two more bruisers waiting their turns in junior back-up Rod Smith (6-3, 232) and sophomore Bri’onte Dunn (6-0, 220), who’s being redshirted this year.

“I think there’s no doubt, I love having big backs,” Meyer said. “It’s finding them and making sure that they are powerful, fast guys, and we’ve got one with Carlos.”

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Sports

Earnhardt Jr., Miami Valley made memories together

He’s NASCAR’s most popular driver 14 years running. But there was a time when Dale Earnhardt Jr. went unrecognized around the Miami Valley. Back in October 1996, Earnhardt Jr. was hired by then-Shady Bowl Speedway owner Charlie Stapleton to race on the Champaign County oval. Earnhardt Jr., then 22, was an up-and-coming driver getting his...
WSU’s Wenzler falls in playoff at HL golf championship
WSU’s Wenzler falls in playoff at HL golf championship

After rallying from five strokes down with four holes to play, Wright State senior golfer Ryan Wenzler fell in a one-hole playoff Tuesday in the Horizon League championships at Howey-in-the-Hills, Fla. Wenzler, the Horizon League Golfer of the Year and defending champion, began the day with a four-stroke lead after shooting 2 under par through the...
Tri-Village names Hamilton grad Burk football coach
Tri-Village names Hamilton grad Burk football coach

Former Cincinnati Mount Healthy co-defensive coordinator Robert Burk has been approved by the Tri-Village Local School District as the Patriots football coach. It’ll be the first head coach position for Burk, a 2002 Hamilton High School graduate. Prior to coaching at Mount Healthy the Hamilton native also was an assistant at Hamilton for former...
Darnell Hoskins Jr. signs with Saginaw Valley State (Mich.) for hoop
Darnell Hoskins Jr. signs with Saginaw Valley State (Mich.) for hoop

Darnell Hoskins Jr., a 2016 Thurgood Marshall High School graduate who spent this past season in prep school, signed to play basketball at Saginaw Valley State University in Michigan on Tuesday. He was at least the third area product to sign during this regular signing period, which extends through mid-May. Earlier Tuesday morning Trotwood-Madison...
Reports: Derek Jeter, Jeb Bush group agrees on deal to buy Miami Marlins
Reports: Derek Jeter, Jeb Bush group agrees on deal to buy Miami Marlins

Miami Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria has reached an agreement to sell the team to a group of investors that includes New York Yankees legend Derek Jeter and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, according to a report from the Miami Herald on Tuesday afternoon. There are "other details to be worked out," but that deal would have to be approved...
More Stories