Urban Meyer has never coached a 1,000-yard back during any previous season in his head-coaching career, but until Monday Carlos Hyde was expected to become the first.
Just two days after running back Hyde was identified as a suspect in the assault of a woman in a downtown Columbus bar, Urban Meyer showed the No. 1 tailback on his depth chart the door.
Since the skeleton closet that was Aaron Hernandez’s lengthy track record of transgressions as a Florida Gator was brought to light, Urban Meyer has been scrutinized relentlessly for his lackadaisical attitude towards discipline and his role as an enabler while he was coaching in The Swamp.
It appears he's intent on changing that narrative. It didn’t help that the woman he took his frustrations out on may also have been the daughter of a cop. Last season, Hyde rushed for 970 yards and scored 16 rushing touchdowns, tied for the OSU single season record. Hyde’s dismissal may put more of an onus on quarterback Braxton Miller, who took quite a physical beating while rushing for nearly 1,300 yards last season.
Meyer's zero tolerance policy towards violence against women has been praised since Hyde's departure, but there's a loophole. If history is any indication, Hyde's Ohio State career may not be over yet. Hyde is listed as a 'person of interest' at this point, hasn't been convicted or even charged yet and hasn't used a reshirt yet. Just last season, Meyer reinstated linebacker Storm Klein after domestic violence charges against him were dropped.
There were slight differences in the accusations against Hyde and Klein, but let's not assume Meyer's turned over a more disciplinary leaf yet. Klein recorded only 18 tackles in seven games in 2012, so it remains to be seen if Meyer is more lenient or tougher towards his star tailback once he gets a glimpse of Hyde's inexperienced and unproven backups.