Can Miami (FL) QB Tyler Van Dyke Grow in Year 2 Under Mario Cristobal?

After a successful freshman season, Tyler Van Dyke struggled in 2022 with a change in offense. Can he regain his freshman form in 2023?

After looking like a potential first-round pick going into the 2022 season, Miami (FL) QB Tyler Van Dyke struggled mightily under then-new head coach Mario Cristobal and his offense. Can Van Dyke rebound in 2023 and revive his career?

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Tyler Van Dyke Breaks Out in 2021

Van Dyke was a three-star recruit per 247 Sports and wasn’t thought to be the guy for the Hurricanes. Once he took over as the starter in Week 4, things took off. Van Dyke led the Hurricanes to a 6-3 finish after a 1-2 start and threw for 2,931 yards, 25 touchdowns, and six interceptions in the process.

Van Dyke attacked down the field consistently and thrived in doing so. He looked the part of a potential NFL quarterback and had fans and analysts really excited for the potential of Miami in 2022 with the addition of new head coach Mario Cristobal.

Unfortunately, he couldn’t build off of that success for a multitude of reasons.

The Offense Wasn’t Good For Van Dyke

The issues that Van Dyke had last season aren’t too dissimilar to what we saw with Justin Herbert at Oregon. They didn’t allow Van Dyke to air the ball out down the field, which he proved to be his strength.

In 2021, he attempted 65 passes at least 20 yards down the field on his 324 attempts (20.1%). In 2022, he did so on just 28 of his 253 pass attempts (11.1%).

This is exactly what the issue was with Herbert. He was asked to throw short and horizontally and not try to use the arm talent. This is the nature of football, where far too often coaches ask the players to play in the system despite not being a proper fit, whereas they should tailor the system to their strengths.

The struggles overall for Van Dyke weren’t just acclimating to the offense, but he also suffered a shoulder injury that caused him to miss three of the last five games and limited snaps in between.

Van Dyke’s Talent is There

One of the reasons that Van Dyke had a lot of talk about him as an NFL prospect was his arm. He can drive the ball down the field and do so with explosiveness. When Van Dyke has the comfort in the pocket to drop back and hit his target with rhythm, he can carve out a defense.

It wasn’t just about driving the ball down the field, Van Dyke can do more than that. He can run the RPO game and attack all levels of the field. There are flashes of impressive ball placement, which is exactly what he did here.

Will Mallory runs a simple in route, and Van Dyke leads Mallory upfield just enough to get a first down.

He also has a little bit of gusto in him. There isn’t a throw that Van Dyke doesn’t think he can’t hit. Throughout his film, there are times when he tries to hit tight window throws like this one against Cover-2 versus Virginia.

Accuracy is His Biggest Issue

While he has shown quality ball placement and accuracy, it’s inconsistent with Van Dyke. He is a career 62.5% passer, but his ball placement is all over the place.

This throw, while it ended up working out, is the epitome of just that. On a simple slant route, he throws it high and the pass gets batted to the back of the endzone. Luckily, it ended up in the hands of a Hurricanes receiver.

This is a problem all over his film. Some of it has to do with his mechanics, as he tends to rush his process. He also likes to fire the ball with gusto a little bit too often when touch could be a better approach.

Can Van Dyke Show Improvement in 2023?

Not all is lost for Van Dyke, as the arm talent that he has is still evident. The removal of offensive coordinator Josh Gattis and hiring former Houston offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson for the same position should help maximize what Van Dyke can be. At Houston, Dawson ran a variant of the Run ‘N Shoot offense and that style fits what Van Dyke is.

Being a top pick is still in the realm of possibility for Van Dyke, but Cristobal needs to allow him to do what he does best: Attack vertically.