Miami sophomore quarterback Tyler Van Dyke saw his first heavy amount of action in 2021 when he was called upon to step in for an injured D’Eriq King. In less than a year since that happened, Van Dyke has become a player who several believe could be one of the top-10 quarterbacks in the nation in 2022.
“It was cool to experience being the guy behind the guy,” Van Dyke said. “Just learning what it takes to be a quarterback at the [Division I] level at Miami. It was good to learn from him and see what he does on a day-to-day basis, so I feel like that really helped me prepare for each and every game last year and this year, too. It’s going to make me better.”
Van Dyke’s highly-touted preseason status has to do both with what he was able to show on the field last year and the Mario Cristobal effect after Miami made the move to replace Manny Diaz back in early December.
Cristobal’s arrival marked an immediate shift that Van Dyke and others have felt positive effects from after finishing out the previous season with some ups and downs and a 7-5 overall record.
“Right when he walked into the first team meeting, you could feel the intensity and the high energy,” Van Dyke said.
Not only is the Hurricanes offense changing moving forward, but perhaps the biggest element of it all is a culture shift that’s been for the better.
“He’s been great, just keeping us disciplined, not letting us get away with some of the small details we did in the past,” Van Dyke said. “That’s going to make us a better team having him at the head of our football program. It’s going to elevate us. We’re really connecting as an offense and getting better every day. Coach [Josh] Gattis coming in has been really good and everyone’s been doing a good job of learning the system and executing the plays.”
In 2022, Van Dyke is looking to expound upon what he accomplished when he completed 62.3% of his passes for 2,931 passing yards, 25 touchdowns and six interceptions on 324 passing attempts.
“Last year, I feel like what I got better at was my decision-making, my poise in the pocket, when everything breaks down, just staying calm,” Van Dyke said. “Moving forward, I’m focused on watching more film, getting better at reading defenses, knowing where the defensive guys are going to be on each and every play will help me get to the next level.”
And in addition to all that, there’s no question Van Dyke’s NFL-ready arm talent should be catching eyeballs.
With the new staff and system will come some different pre-snap responsibilities and some similarities.
“It’s a little different,” Van Dyke said. “Last year, we had to say the protections to the line and tell the line the play, and now it’s the complete opposite. The line looks over to the sideline and they get the play and so I don’t have to do that anymore. I do look to see if I have to flip the protection and what not. In terms of overall pre-snap responsibilities, it’s similar in some ways but also different.”
Heading into what’s poised to be a big year for himself and the Hurricanes, Van Dyke couldn’t be more optimistic about the team he’ll be operating.
“I feel like we have all the talent in the world at every position,” he said. “In the past we’ve had the talent, it’s just been discipline and doing the right things on and off the field. So, if we do all of that, a good season is in store for us.”
It’s not just Van Dyke that’s getting hype, either. Miami has been praised for other position groups in addition to having potentially one of the best quarterback rooms in America. That’s something the passer takes pride in, but he’s not feeling the heat of the expectations – in a good way.
“All of the guys in our room are great quarterbacks and great people,” Van Dyke said. “I don’t feel the pressure [of the Heisman and top QB talk] and I don’t know if I should or not, but I just feel like I’ve been playing football my entire life and I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing. Following what the coaches tell you to do and watching the film and executing the plays will get you to the next level."
And film study is something Van Dyke doesn’t take lightly, whether it’s studying the film from a practice, game or NFL quarterbacks he looks up to.
“I watch a lot of the guys in the NFL and study how they read stuff,” Van Dyke said. “There’s not really a specific guy, but I would say I look at a lot of Joe Burrow, same body type, mobility type, arm strength and stuff like that.”
But this isn’t about becoming a clone of another successful quarterback for the Miami signal-caller.
“I just want to be myself and create that legacy for myself.”