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Hyde following Greenwood’s example at safety

BY JORDAN GARRETSON | AUGUST 31, 2011 7:20 AM

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Micah Hyde’s introduction was short and simple.

“I’m Micah Hyde from Fostoria, Ohio, and I’m a DB,” he said as Iowa players introduced themselves to their new freshman teammates before the beginning of fall camp.

Not a cornerback. Not a safety. Just a defensive back.

“Everyone started giggling like, ‘Are you going to say like corner or safety?’ I’m like, ‘No, I’m a DB. Wherever they put me at, I’m at,’ ” Hyde said.

One year after spending a full season as a starting cornerback, the junior is now Iowa’s starting free safety. But the shift wasn’t because of any shortcomings by Hyde at corner. It was the departure of Brett Greenwood — who started 45 career games at free safety — that prompted the move.

“That’s an important position on our team,” head coach Kirk Ferentz said. “Brett Greenwood did an outstanding job for three and a half years. We just need to make sure we have someone who can handle that role.”

Hyde was the man the coaching staff hoped it could count on. He was informed of the switch “a day or two” before spring practice began.

Though he had “no idea it was happening” until that point, he has since taken the adjustment in stride.

“I’m just trying to help out the team,” Hyde said. “Whatever I can do to help out the team, that’s what I’m here for.”

And while Hyde played free safety in high school, the position — as are all — is much more demanding in college than at the prep level. To help his transition, Hyde has studied Greenwood, the “smartest player he’s ever played with.” Those smarts came from incessant trips to the film room and an almost obsessive attentiveness — so much so that Greenwood would “pick out details that you’d never even think about.”

Hyde is trying to emulate that as he assumes more responsibilities in the Iowa scheme.

“There’s a lot more thinking [at free safety], knowing the defense,” Hyde said. “[At] corner, you still have to know a lot about the defense, but it’s more focused on that position. At free safety, you have to know the defense as a whole. You have to know the adjustments and checks.”

The results have been positive so far, according to at least one of Hyde’s accomplices in the Iowa secondary.

“He covers the whole field,” senior corner Shaun Prater said. “If a guy runs a double move on me, he’ll find a way to get over there and help out over the top.”

Is it possible Iowa’s free safety may better suit Hyde’s playmaking abilities, as some have suggested?

Considering Hyde’s most memorable moments from the 2010 season — say, the 72-yard interception return for the game-winning touchdown against Missouri in the Insight Bowl — that may be true.

But he would prefer to wait before making such a proclamation.

“I don’t know yet,” he said. “That’s what the coaches are here for. I can say one thing: It’s made me a better football player.”


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