Meet Kentucky's 333-pound fullback Jacob Hyde
If the Kentucky fullback wearing jersey No. 66 at practice looks like he doesn’t know what he’s doing, it’s because, well, he doesn’t.
Jacob Hyde, a former three-star defensive tackle and little-used backup, was in disbelief when new UK offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson asked him to go to the other side of the field at practice. So much so that it took several other assistants before he realized it wasn’t a joke.
Hyde is shaky so far, unfamiliar with his assignments. But he’s getting way more attention, and deservedly so. Not many linebackers or defensive ends want to see a 6-foot-2, 333-pound fullback barreling toward them at full speed.
“I never thought in a million years that I’d be playing fullback for the University of Kentucky,” Hyde said, according to the Lexington Herald Leader. “I was kind of anxious. It’s something new. You’re playing a guy. D-line, it’s short and choppy, fullback you take a run and go.”
Hyde has continued to practice as a reserve defensive tackle. But despite the Air Raid offense, West Virginia (under Dawson) ran more than 50 percent of the time last season. D.J. Warren graduated, but Jeff Witthuhn, a former Bowling Green quarterback, and Will Thomas Collins, another transfer, also play the position.
Neither of them have the size or intrigue of Hyde.
“You need those guys a lot and we try to do a lot with them in multiple situations, not just lining up in the backfield, fullback-wise. (Hyde) has got a low center of gravity that you like, especially in those short-yardage situations, it’s good to have big bodies,” Dawson said. “You utilize who you have. He looks the part, so we’ll see.”
Tight ends coach Vince Marrow and wide receivers coach Tommy Mainord came to Dawson with the idea, the Herald Leader reported.
From the story:
Marrow wondered aloud what it must be like for Hyde to go back into his defensive meetings and face the guys he helped plow down in practice “because he brings the boom on them guys.”
Defensive end Denzil Ware gulped the first time he spied Hyde on the opposite side of the line, calling it “scary, scary.”
“I tried to juke Big Hyde,” the 6-foot-2, 249-pounder said. “I didn’t really want to meet him in the hole. But then, after a while, I was like, ‘Man, I gotta hit him either way it goes.’ So when I first hit him, he knocked me on my butt.”
Since that first time, Ware said he’s tried to “take it like a man.”
Hyde, one of the two or three strongest players in the UK weight room, will open some holes for the offense, the defensive player said. “Don’t nobody wanna hit that all the time. Teams don’t want to hit Hyde all the time. So that’s going to be real good for us in the season.”