Ohio State redshirt sophomore quarterback Dwayne Haskins did not have to prove anything to offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Ryan Day.
Through the first three games of the season, Haskins, under Day, threw 11 touchdowns in the first three games of the season, completing 72.5 percent of his pass attempts with two games of at least 300 passing yards.
With the return of Urban Meyer, after serving his three-game suspension to start the season, Haskins had a reputation to uphold for a head coach who had not seen him play on the sidelines yet this season.
That reputation was secured by halftime.
Haskins led an offense that scored 42 points on 425 yards of offense in the first half, and completed 21 of 24 pass attempts for 304 yards, throwing five touchdowns, becoming the third quarterback in Ohio State history to have multiple five-touchdown games in his career.
In four starts, the redshirt sophomore quarterback has thrown for over 300 yards in a game three times, which is tied for third-most in Ohio State history behind former Ohio State quarterbacks J.T. Barrett and Joe Germaine.
However, even with the return of Meyer, a head coach who had not seen his starting quarterback lead a team in person, Haskins really did not feel he had anything to prove to him.
He felt he did that last season.
“I feel like I proved to Coach last year during the Michigan game what I could do on the field and it’s a matter of time of me getting comfortable,” Haskins said. “Having him on the field today was just showing coach, ‘Hey look, I’ve been working since you have been gone and tell me how you think.’”
Through his first four games as the starting quarterback at Ohio State, Haskins said he’s performed better than expected, having the goal of going out as a leader and winning games with the help of the other pieces of the offense.
With that, Haskins had one goal in mind.
“I just want to show how dangerous the offense is, and with me at the helm a lot of plays can be made,” Haskins said.
Meyer said he knew Haskins had the accuracy in his arm from the moment he saw him throw in workouts. He said, as more of a pro-style quarterback than a dual-threat option, it’s a necessity for Haskins to be accurate with a defensive approach to load the box if a quarterback can’t throw in pressure.
Through the first four games, Haskins has shown that accuracy, completing 72.5 percent of his throws with two games this season in which he had recorded a completion percentage of over 80 percent.
For Meyer, the accuracy in the passing game does not only depend on the success of the quarterback. He said it has to do with the amount of time Haskins has to throw the ball, the routes the receivers are running and their ability to create space to get an open throw.
Haskins said it’s the constant repetition in practice that creates a successful dynamic within the offense when game time hits.
“Having guys like Coach Meyer and Coach [Ryan] Day, they are perfectionists, so, in practice, the ball don’t touch the ground at all really,” Haskins said. “You get to the game Saturday. I want to execute, so that’s part of what I want to do as well.”
For those who are on the receiving end of Haskins throws, they see a difference in the man behind center through the first four games of the season.
“I don’t think you can fathom a performance, the one he’s been putting on thus far,” redshirt senior wide receiver Parris Campbell said. “He’s a very poised quarterback, he’s a great player, he has an eager to get better each week, has an eager to learn, he’s just becoming a pro.”
Meyer said Haskins is getting a command of the offense, becoming a leader that the players are responding to. In that, the Ohio State offense is beginning to gel with Haskins at the helm.
However, that doesn’t mean all is proven for the redshirt sophomore quarterback moving forward, especially with No. 10 Penn State next week, according to his head coach.
“I had Alex Smith at Utah and obviously when Cardale got hot,” Meyer said. “It’s so early though, I hate to put him in those — game five coming up. This one is a big one coming up.”