Haw had 79 of his 86 yards in the second of Saturday's Scarlet and Gray Game. He helped power the Scarlet team's only scoring drive in their 19-6 loss and capped it with a nifty 10-yard touchdown run.
"Erik Haw, I thought, as the game progressed, did some things," OSU coach Jim Tressel said. "That may have been the first time he was thrust out in front of everyone. I thought he improved as he went. That was good to see."
Haw, a 3,000-yard rusher at Columbus Independence High School, redshirted last fall. He summed up the day.
"Welcome back to football," he said. "As a team, we made some strides during spring ball. I think we did pretty well."
Haw found success running between the tackles -- just as he did at Independence.
"I definitely got comfortable," said Haw, who averaged 5.4 yards on his 16 carries. "A lot of the plays were more up the gut instead of stretch running. The defense was doing a good job of stringing those plays out.
"I'm not satisfied. I know I need to get better. Even if I had 250 yards today, I know I would have to make some improvement."
Haw was locked in competition with sophomore Antonio Pittman this spring. Those two will be joined by incoming freshman Maurice Wells in the fall. OSU will be counting on one or more of them coming through in the fall, and Haw definitely wants to be in the mix.
"It's a young backfield, from the tailback perspective," he said. "But I think we can make some strides in the weight room."
On Haw's touchdown, he took a give going left and avoided a blitzing linebacker in the backfield, then beat linebacker Curtis Terry to the goal line pylon. But he said the play he remembered the most was his early game catch of a swing pass.
"I think the first catch out of the backfield, I gave Ashton Youboty a little in and out in the backfield. Then, A.J. Hawk came right here with all of this," Haw said, putting his fist to his jaw. "It was like, ‘Welcome back to football.' That will wake you up. That definitely woke me up. It was pain, but it felt good. That's what it's all about."
The Gray squad took a 13-0 halftime lead and extended it to 19-0 in the third. But that is when Haw and the Scarlet went to work to avoid the shutout.
"That put more pep in the offense's step," Haw said. "We had to be a little more precise in what we were doing because we didn't want to miss that chance."
For Haw (and others), the focus will turn to strength training and the summer conditioning program.
"I have to key in on some of the weak points I need to work on," he said. "As a team, we need to combine as a team and get that chemistry back.
"I just want to work hard in the off-season and come fall just try to be the best running back I can be."