Tyler Van Dyke, the 2021 Atlantic Coast Conference Rookie of the Year, didn’t have much to prove in Miami’s spring game on Saturday.
But even on a relatively quiet day in which the offense kept its playbook simple, the Hurricanes starting quarterback still led the first-team offense to four touchdowns and one field goal. to give the offense the win on Saturday at DRV PNK Stadium in Fort Lauderdale.
Van Dyke, who took a few unsuccessful deep shots early and then turned more to running play and a shorter passing offense, completed 20 of 32 passes for 172 yards and a 7-yard touchdown.
Backup Jake Garcia was 14 of 24 for 117 yards. His second team attack failed to score.
“There’s always a gap between where you finish the season and where you want to go next year,” UM coach Mario Cristobal said. “We have advanced to where we want to be. We have a lot of work to do. And we know it. That’s the best part about it.
“Right now, the best approach is to understand that the best thing we have is the power to choose. And we must choose to work hard to improve and make sure we are focused on school, good decisions and team cohesion [so] that in more than 100 days when we take the field, our best will be on the field.”
Ole Miss transfer Henry Parrish ran for 2-yard, 1-yard touchdowns in the first half and leading rusher Thaddius Franklin had a 3-yard touchdown run. In the second half, Van Dyke threw his 7-yard touchdown to Jacolby George.
How much did Cristobal and offensive coordinator Josh Gattis retain offensively? The match was televised live, with the stadium – 18,000 capacity – only half full despite an announced sale.
“There were a few secret things,” Van Dyke said. “But I think we did a good job, especially up front. We were very physical. We established the running game early. The defense played well too, making us work for our yards.
“…There are shots that we didn’t announce today. We threw in a couple that didn’t really connect. You’ll see over the course of the season, we’ll log on to those.
“We had a great day.”
Cristobal reiterated that he thinks Van Dyke will be as good as any quarterback in the country. “The leadership, his ability to master the attack, the way he can just make plays – both designed and improvised. He’s a total team player.
Cristobal said redshirt freshman Garcia “made great plays,” though he mentioned the receivers were inconsistent at times.
“We also have to catch the ball sometimes, but it’s up to all of us,” the coach said. “The supporting cast always has to be even more specific than the quarterback. It is one piece. You have 10 pieces surrounding it.
Garcia said he had “a lot of fun” competing again and called his day “pretty good”.
“The quarter room in general had a really good day,” Garcia said, “and collectively as a team. But it’s not where we want to be yet. So, we have to keep working hard. and, as the coach said, close the gap. Our goals for the summer are to clean it all up. My personal goal is to continue to gain weight and know the playbook inside and out so that I’ll be ready to go and ready to rock when we get to fall camp and then the season.’
The three drops of Xavier Restrepo, Key’Shawn Smith and Parrish came very early in the game. Slot receiver Restrepo has excelled all spring, and once again led all pass catchers on Saturday with six receptions for 46 yards.
Tight end Kahlil Brantley led the tight ends with three catches for 42 yards, including a 26-yard catch delivered by Van Dyke for the longest pass of the day.
Franklin led the running offense with 60 yards on 14 carries. Parrish ran nine times for 41 yards.
First-registrant quarterback Jacurri Brown was 3 of 6 for 15 yards and an interception that deflected off the hands of USC graduate transfer defensive tackle Jake Lichtenstein and into the arms of safety James Williams. Brown also fumbled, which was picked up by defensive tackle Allan Haye, Jr.
Defensively, winger Cyrus Moss had two sacks, including a tape sack. Lichtenstein had the breakup of the pass, the fumble recovery and the sack. Tackle Leonard Taylor added a sack.
Sophomore Andy Borregales threw a 22-yard field goal in the first half to cap off Garcia’s third drive.
The match was split into two conventional 15-minute quarters for the first half, with the second half continuing.
Cristobal was asked if he achieved what he wanted this spring.
“We have to some extent,” Cristobal said. “I don’t think you’ll ever get there. The emphasis on the physique has certainly been implemented and we have seen some results. Now we have to get good at maintaining the physique and the effort and technique levels and making sure that if it’s playing 69 in the game, playing 72 in the game, that we’re getting a signal and we’re communicating and we’re queue up and we go fast.
“…Overall progress, but you wish you had 15 more [spring practices]. But you don’t.
“…I know what we want to see. We want to see a team that plays with passion, with tenacity, with physicality, with a resilience that can perform at a high level. And to get there, there is no magic formula, no secret sauce or sleight of hand. The Canes need to get to work.”
This story was originally published April 16, 2022 2:01 p.m.