- Austin Ward, ESPN Staff Writer
The projected starter is on the disabled list.
Those carries were naturally going to slide to Carlos Hyde.
One of the leading candidates to push for work alongside the Ohio State running back could potentially be facing some discipline from the program after reportedly being cited for possession of marijuana on Saturday.
The school and coach Urban Meyer have not yet commented on the issue publicly, but even if no substantial penalties come from the weekend incident for Bri'onte Dunn, there's at least the possibility that the true freshman could be limited early in the season the same way Jordan Hall is out as he recovers from surgery on a tendon he cut in his foot. And that again narrows the focus on Hyde, who might be simultaneously facing a golden opportunity and make-or-break moment with Ohio State.
"The body type is Carlos Hyde," Buckeyes coach Urban Meyer said at Big Ten Media Days. "The talent is Carlos Hyde. He has to stay healthy, and it’s time to go get it. It’s not the previous coaching staff’s fault, it’s not the offensive line’s fault, it’s not the dog ate his homework.
"It’s time to go, it’s time. This is the defining moment of Carlos Hyde’s career. It’s either yes or no."
There may not be a definitive answer even after two games given the level of competition the Buckeyes face to start September, but either way Hyde could have plenty of chances to make a case that he can be a workhorse rusher.
Hall is expected to miss at least the first two games, and after 10 weeks of recovery time, it seems unlikely he'd be completely ready for a full load against California in the third week of the season.
Dunn might not miss any game action at all depending on how his legal situation plays out and how Meyer elects to handle it, though he has made clear that drugs are a serious violation of his core values and has not been shy so far about establishing a hard-line stance for transgressions.
Hyde was surely going to be getting the ball often with just Hall out, and the absence of Dunn might provide even more touches if Rod Smith or true freshman Warren Ball don't make a push during training camp. And it could be a start in answering a major question in the backfield.
"He's got talent," Meyer said. "There can’t be any more gray area. He’s had too much gray in his career."
3dJosh Moyer and Dan Murphy