Kentucky is known more for bullying teams in the paint than at the line of scrimmage, but Jacob Hyde is going to do all he can to change that this fall. The Wildcats will use the 320-pounder, formerly a defensive lineman exclusively, at fullback in an effort to add some punch in short-yardage situations, and Hyde couldn't be happier about his new role.
"In your own vision, you don't ever think about the mistakes or what could go wrong," Hyde said, according to the Courier-Journal. "Being from Kentucky, it's a lifelong dream to say, 'Hey, I'm making some game-winning (plays).' I feel like (offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson) trusts me to go in there and get that extra yard."
Hyde has changed jersey numbers from 66 to 36, and although Dawson said Hyde would only be used situationally on offense, it's unclear whether he'll continue to maintain a role on defense. What is clear is that Dawson won't hesitate to insert Hyde into the game when the Wildcats are just short of the sticks -- or the goal line.
"There's going to be situations where it's a half a yard and we need to get one," Dawson said. "So we'll put his big ass in there and knock somebody out. I ain't scared to put him in there."
It's often said that the fullback position is dying, but Kentucky's logic in its new role for Hyde is why the position will never be dead. The sweeping popularity of spread offenses has done a lot to change the college game, but while the spread attack can ring up dizzying yardage totals for a single game, it often falls short when only one yard is needed for a single play.
That's where Hyde comes in.
And SEC defenses accustomed to picking on the Wildcats at the line of scrimmage are going to find a bigger kid in the schoolyard this fall.