HN.com: Chuck, some fans are wondering why freshman quarterback Drew Tate should have played against Buffalo and Iowa State in mop up duty, thus burning his redshirt, when he has not gotten any snaps beyond that this year. Does he gain anything by knowing he is one play away from being in the game and getting the #2 quarterback reps in practice?.
CHUCK HARTLIEB: "I think what you have to guess here is that coach Ferentz and the entire staff said to themselves back in August and September that they wanted to put their best foot forward for this season. You have to be two deep at each position and they had to ask themselves who was the 2nd best option for the benefit of the team, for this year? I think I see more and more coaching staff's feeling that way and I would not disagree with that. It is a way of thinking that your best opportunity is now. You have to look at it that way as far as week in and week out goes."
"I guess there is always a chance that he could be redshirted down the road and combine that with the fact that maybe they were not 100% sold in August and September that Chandler was going to be able to come through for them the way that he has."
"Maybe another factor is that back in January when he was getting recruited, Drew Tate could have been sitting in a living room and said to coach Ferentz ‘I really want to be a four year guy and if I earn the second spot this year, I want a chance to play'; there is something to be said for that."
"Now, Tate is not redshirting, he is traveling to all of the games and getting a taste of those environments, something he would not have done had he redshirted (because of the 65-man travel squad rules)."
"So for some fans to make some assumptions without knowing what conversations have taken place there…I certainly think that if Drew Tate has the confidence in himself that we think he does, I could easily see him say that he only wanted to play four years."
"And then there is a huge advantage, if he is going to be the starter next year, of him being put in the spot every week this year, preparing to go in on any play. That will help him enormously in the future."
"Now, if you call him a redshirt, the guy is not paying as much attention Friday night and his heart is not pumping as hard on a Saturday. It is hard to place a value on that if you have never been in that position, but I am telling you it is a very big aspect and it will pay dividends down the road."
"I don't have a problem with this. I understand from so many angles why he gave up the redshirt and why he was in the mix right away. I feel comfortable with it."
HN.com: Just so I understand where you are coming from here. You are saying that the crash course that Tate is getting from the #2 reps in practice, plus the mental crush of possibly being one play away from being ‘the man' which commands his full attention in every aspect of game week is something that is a definite positive for Tate this year, as opposed to saying he is the number two, but if it's a blowout, you play the #3 to not burn the redshirt?
CHUCK HARTLIEB:"Exactly. I don't think there are many programs that would try to get tricky like that. You lay it all on the table for the entire team, the entire family and say that Drew Tate is our second best player at quarterback, he is not redshirting, let's strap it on. I think that means a lot to Drew Tate, to the line and to the entire team that it is clear as to what is going on at quarterback, who is cleaning up and who is not, etc. Don't underestimate how important that is to a football team."
HN.com: Penn State and Illinois have done a poor job of stopping the run and they are Iowa's next two opponents. They could not come at a better time, could they?
CHUCK HARTLIEB:"You are right. Now it's a matter of us staying sharp and focused and not having a flat spot, because if we do, we certainly could be in trouble. But that has not been an issue with coach Ferentz and his teams at home and I would not expect for that to happen."
"I put Penn State in the same bucket as Michigan. Traditionally, they are a very vanilla team that lines up and shows you what they are going to do and you know how to prepare for them. This game worries me a little bit, because we have had some issues with scrambling quarterbacks in the past. But if we can keep away from the big play, which the defense has done all year, boy, I have seen some Penn State games where they are a very poor tackling team."
"If Iowa can focus on getting the running game and the play action game going, then I think they should be fine."