Tyler Van Done?

The more things change, the more things feel the same. Coming off the thrill of the Clemson win and finally beating the big bad bully who had terrorized us for a decade felt great but when the high from the Corey Flagg tackle finally wore off 72 hours later the dread of the upcoming Virginia game started to settle in. No matter how good Miami looks and how bad Virginia has looked in any given season, one thing we know for sure is that Miami always struggles with Virginia. It’s about as guaranteed as the Sun rising in the east. All week my stomach was in knots because many fans were back drinking the Kool Aid and I was sitting here feeling like a cynical skeptic. I felt like Noah building a virtual ark around my emotions while trying to tell all of my Canes family and friends to get ready for rain because there might be a flood on Saturday.

First drive for the Miami Hurricanes, three and out. First drive for the Virginia Cavaliers, right down the field for a touchdown. Oh boy. Jacolby George drops a pass on 3rd & 10. Not good. Virginia runs the ball right down our throats and converts a 3rd & 13 en route to the opening score by Hollins. Here we go again! I was not at all surprised because I unfortunately expected it. However, I would be lying if I said that I had not been hoping and praying all week that I was wrong and that my paranoia was dramatically unfounded. Turns out that just because I was paranoid didn’t mean that the demons of those past struggles were not actually following me. It sucks to be right sometimes.

The start to that game on Saturday afternoon was about as dreadful as we have seen this season. It was right up there with the first half against Georgia Tech. We even equaled the 10-3 first half score line from the Georgia Tech game, the only thing different was the Miami Nights neon jerseys were nowhere to be seen. When Tyle Van Dyke threw the interception on the subsequent drive all I could do was laugh because he predictably targeted Xavier Restrepo and you saw the interception coming a mile away. But at least X was actually open this time and not triple covered. What did in Tyler on that play was how poorly thrown and vastly off target the pass was. So I laughed to cope with the pain of the realization that TVD has become an unreliable triggerman for Miami when coming into last season I thought that we might have found one of the best quarterbacks in the country. I once viewed TVD the same way I view Bain and Borregales now. A lot has changed since then.

I am wondering how many “Van Dyme” shirts TVD has sold? Just curious. I mean, he spent some money copywriting the phrase. Do you think he has moved enough units to recoup his investment? How much do those shirts cost anyways? Are they discounted now since he has been throwing rusty pennies lately? The only dimes he has dropped since the bye have been from the holes in his pockets. TVD has been struggling big time. That’s actually an understatement. I mean he got outplayed by a dude named “Muskett.” Did I mention that Muskett was playing with one working shoulder? Maybe instead of “Tyler Van Dymes” TVD should stand for “TV Dinner.” Think about it. A TV dinner is actually the perfect metaphor for Tyler Van Dyke’s career. In the first two Power 5 starts of his career TVD was a freshman fresh out of the freezer and he was still cold. He had a subpar game against Virginia in his first P5 start and then a terrible game against North Carolina the following week where he threw 3 interceptions. Then TVD got popped into the microwave and heated up, going on a crazy 6 game run to end 2021 where he sliced and diced teams like Pitt, NC State, FSU, GT, VT, and Duke. TV dinner threw for 2,191 yards 20 TDs and 3 INTs. The numbers were staggering. TVD was sensational for Rhett Lashlee. It looked like we were watching the birth of one of the best quarterbacks in the history of the program, possibly a future Heisman winner, and NFL first round pick. But just like any TV dinner, after you heat it up and let it sit and cool off, when you actually eat it, you realize that the entree is usually slightly overcooked and under seasoned. The only reason you go through with eating it is because you don’t have anything left in the fridge that you can get ready quickly enough and you don’t feel like sitting in that long line at Chick-fil-A’s drive thru. That’s exactly what is going on right now with TVD. He looks overcooked and under seasoned and the only reason the team is sticking with him is because Jacurri Brown and Emory Williams are not ready to come out of the fridge yet.

Last season was a rough one for Tyler, but we attributed that to Josh Gattis and injuries. This season, TVD has had one good game against a P5 team in the Texas A&M game and since then it has been all duds. Texas A&M’s defense came after TVD all game. Which left a lot of one-on-one man-to-man coverages on the back end. UNC did the same thing in the 1st half. It’s clear that if you come after TVD and play man, you make the field easier for him to read and you will likely lose the game and make Tyler look like a Super QB in the process. However, if you drop into zone coverage, that is Tyler’s Kryptonite. Teams are literally letting TVD have all day to throw in the pocket and dropping back into coverage because they know he can’t read the field or the defensive coverages and have no fear of him beating them with his arm consistently enough to win the game.

Even when TVD checks the ball down, he floats those passes in the air forever now. So teams are not even covering the flat anymore! Why should they? The defender who would typically cover the flat is now dropping into coverage and giving the checkdown a 20 yard cushion, because they know that it takes Tyler the same amount of time to read “Goodnight Moon” as it took the rest of us to read “Long Walk to Freedom.” (For reference “Goodnight Moon” is a 130 word kids book and the Nelson Mandela Autobiography is 660 pages) Then once he decides to check it down, the ball hangs in the air longer than the running time for the Avatar sequel where they were swimming with whales for 3 hours. Which gives the flat defender all day to close down that space and limit the back or tight end to a minimal gain.

TVD looks lost out there. No map, no compass, no north star, just Restrepo. I am starting to think even “Goodnight Moon” might be too complex for him. We might have to let him try out “Llama Llama Red Pajama” to see if he can get his mojo going again. Being 6-2 is better than being 5-7 so I will take the scrappy wins, but man this is brutal to watch and makes me very concerned about the upcoming games we have left in the ACC schedule. The UNC loss to GT has opened up the door for Miami to have a small pathway to Charlotte, but there is no doubt that TVD will be our starting QB moving forward. So everyone better buckle up because the rest of the season could be a bumpy ride if Tyler does not recapture that ‘21 karat magic and pop himself back into the microwave again. Go Canes!

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