QB Tyler Van Dyke Discusses Red Zone and Game Preparation Ahead of Showdown With Texas A&M
Miami Hurricanes quarterback Tyler Van Dyke offered insights into the team's preparation as they brace for a crucial match-up against Texas A&M. The interview touched on a multitude of topics ranging from red-zone efficiency to the team's evolving offensive strategy.
The Red Zone: A Crucial Focus Point"It's been a major priority," Van Dyke began, discussing the team's preparation for red-zone situations. "Last year, we moved the ball well in the red zone but failed to convert into touchdowns. We've emphasized the importance of this during our entire off-season, not just this week or during fall camp."
This focus seems timely, considering they will be facing the nation's top-ranked pass defense from last year. "We know we have to be really good in the red zone against them," he stressed.
Eyeing the Opposition's DefenseWhen asked about the quality of the opposition's defense, Van Dyke spoke highly of A&M’s group.
"They've got a really good pass rush, some big dudes up there, and a very impressive secondary – number one pass defense in the nation last year, obviously some good cornerback transfers. I'm looking forward to the challenge they are going to bring us," he added.
Evolving Offensive Game PlanOn how the offensive play-calling might change, Van Dyke shared his thoughts. "In the first game against Miami Ohio, they were playing deep, so we took what they gave us, focusing on short throws," he explained. "But this isn't about forcing deep throws. If the defense is pressing, we might go for it, but the main thing is taking what's given to us."
He further elaborated, "There's no need to force the ball just to make explosive plays happen. Obviously, you want that to happen, but we've got to take advantage of the times they give it to us. We can't force it; we have to play it as it lies and do the right thing in certain situations."
Van Dyke sounded thrilled at the prospect of throwing deep, pointing out that head coach Dawson is willing to be aggressive yet smart with his play calls.
"If you look at his history, last year and his years before, his record says he loves pushing the ball down the field, loves being explosive. But he's also very smart; he knows when to run the ball and when defenses are giving us the underneath throws. It's not him just wanting to take deep shots just because. He does it when the times are right and he understands when we need to do it, during the perfect situation against the perfect defense."
The Power of The Home Crowd
The Hurricanes' QB also touched on the impact of home-field advantage, citing how a packed Hard Rock Stadium can affect the opposition's offense.
“I think last game was a really good turnout with all the fans. They did a great job, especially when our defense is on the field. I think it's extremely tough to play offense when you're an away team with a crowd cheering. Communication-wise, just those little things, the loud noise affects false starts, cadences like that, that's absolutely huge. So definitely need a packed house here for that. Should be a really, really exciting game and just excited to see what Hard Rock is going to bring us."
He also emphasized the importance of the offense's ability to run the football this season.
“When teams prep for us, they're going to have to prep to stop the run. So it definitely opens up some passing lanes and deep opportunities. A lot of teams saw we ran the ball well this week, and obviously we're going to continue to do that, but I'm sure [Texas] A&M's main thing is to stop the run just because we had a great week last week running the ball. So passing lanes should open up. tThis offense is very balanced – with the run game and deep shots in the pass game and underneath throws. So it definitely opens it up a lot."
Team's Mindset: A Renewed FocusComparing the team's current mental state to last year's, Van Dyke noted a marked difference. "Last year we were 2-0 going into the Texas A&M game, and maybe we took it for granted. This year, after a 5-7 season, we know we have to work for every win."
Van Dyke also relished the freedom to make pre-snap adjustments. "It's important for the quarterback to read the defense and make changes accordingly. It's definitely a good thing for me and for the offense to succeed."