Sports

No. 8 Ohio State can't replace Carlos Hyde with 1 back; Elliott, Smith, Samuel share load

  • FILE - In this Aug. 30, 2014, file photo, Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott, left, runs past Navy safety Parrish Gaines (2) and linebacker Chris Johnson (46) for a touchdown in the second half of an NCAA college football game in Baltimore. After a 34-17 victory over Navy in the opener, coach Urban Meyer is pleased with the job done by Elliott, who gained 44 yards on 12 carries including this 10-yard touchdown run. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

    FILE - In this Aug. 30, 2014, file photo, Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott, left, runs past Navy safety Parrish Gaines (2) and linebacker Chris Johnson (46) for a touchdown in the second half of an NCAA college football game in Baltimore. After a 34-17 victory over Navy in the opener, coach Urban Meyer is pleased with the job done by Elliott, who gained 44 yards on 12 carries including this 10-yard touchdown run. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this April 12, 2014, file photo, Ohio State running back Curtis Samuel carries the ball during the spring NCAA college football game in Columbus, Ohio. The flashy freshman joins the backfield with Ezekiel Elliott and Rod Smith. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete, File)

    FILE - In this April 12, 2014, file photo, Ohio State running back Curtis Samuel carries the ball during the spring NCAA college football game in Columbus, Ohio. The flashy freshman joins the backfield with Ezekiel Elliott and Rod Smith. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this Aug. 9, 2014, file photo, Ohio State running back Rod Smith carries the ball during an NCAA college football practice in Columbus, Ohio. Buckeyes head coach Urban Meyer believes Smith _ previously overlooked, and now Ezekiel Elliott’s backup _ has earned time based on his effort, including one fabulous job of blocking. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete, File)

    FILE - In this Aug. 9, 2014, file photo, Ohio State running back Rod Smith carries the ball during an NCAA college football practice in Columbus, Ohio. Buckeyes head coach Urban Meyer believes Smith _ previously overlooked, and now Ezekiel Elliott’s backup _ has earned time based on his effort, including one fabulous job of blocking. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete, File)  (The Associated Press)

Many Ohio State fans were worried when Carlos Hyde took his 1,500 yards with him on graduation day.

They figured with Hyde gone, the Buckeyes would have a hard time finding someone that productive.

But Urban Meyer isn't sweating it. After a 34-17 victory over Navy in the opener, he's pleased with the job done by his three-head tailback, starting with Ezekiel Elliott who gained 44 yards on 12 carries including a 10-yard TD run.

He also believes Rod Smith — previously overlooked, now in the mix — has earned time. Then there's flashy freshman Curtis Samuel, who had a fine college debut.

So while others may question No. 8 Ohio State's running game heading into Saturday's showdown with Virginia Tech, Meyer and his staff are pleased with the possibilities.