Drew Tate: 'This is Nate's Team'

When you are the backup quarterback, they tell you that you are just 'one snap away' from being in the game. Iowa freshman Drew Tate has been living under that gun all season long and he talks about what that is like in addition to the transition from his high school days where he never took snaps under center or handed off to the running back to his crash course on Iowa football in 2003.

DREW TATE:

What has this season been like for you?

"It's been pretty interesting. I think that I've handled it pretty well as far as not playing. In high school, I started for four years at the top level (in Texas, Class 5A). So, I've been adapting pretty well to system and learning and taking mental reps in practice and watching Chandler and watching film with him. We go over things. It's kind of helping me learn about being the backup, and when my opportunity presents itself, to take it."

Are you OK with losing the redshirt and not playing much?

"Yeah. I'm OK with it. I mean, I want to play. That's the attitude that everybody has. If they're not playing, they want to play. But I understand what's going on and everything like that. I'm just happy I'm here and I'm where I'm at right now. There are a lot of people that could be in front of me right now. But like I said, you take one day at a time and just learn every day."

What do you think of the criticism that Nathan receives?

It seems like if you don't pass for 500 yards and throw for eight touchdowns, you're not doing your job. That's typical though. People really don't have a clue. The only people that really know what's going on are the coaches. So, that's the only thing that really matters, not what people say.

Can you tell if you've gotten better?

Yeah. I have. A lot better since Day 1. In high school, I never took a snap under the center. I never handed off. I never had to read and run plays, stuff like that. I'm getting all of that. I'm reading coverages better. Coach and I are going over a lot of stuff. I'm getting better every day.

Has it been more valuable for you do be No. 2 as opposed to working with the scout team?

Oh yeah. Being with the offense and running our plays and learning situations and stuff like that, it will carry over to next year. If you're on scout team, you're running the other team's plays. You're not working on our plays.

Can you talk about what kind of roller coaster ride you go through every game on the sidelines? You never know when you might go in.

Yeah. It's like that because he's (Chandler) big and he takes a lot of shots. But I'm there in case something happens to him. This is his team. It's fun getting ready to go in and stuff. Some day it might happen.

How complicated was your offensive playbook in high school?

It was pretty easy. You catch the ball in shotgun and throw it. That's how it was. That's not hard.

Can you compare it to what you've had to learn here?

It's been totally different. I had to learn a totally different system. As far as throwing the ball, I mean that's the same and putting the ball in the right spots. But just learning some of the routes and coverages and reads and blitzes and stuff like that, it's totally different.

How much do you work with the first-team during the week?

None. I'm always with the second-team. Nate, he's always the first team. They're the guys that do all of the checks. They've got to get ready for the game. I'm just there. I'm learning and taking mental reps when he's in there.

Did you know what to expect coming in here or has this season been an eye opener?

A little bit of both. Coming in, you know you're not going to just be thrown in there with the first-teamers. You've got to work your way up the ladder. I've been doing that. It's also an eye opener finally to realize what it feels like not to play. But it's working out.

Do you anticipate a dog fight for the No. 1 job this spring?

Yeah. There's Jason (Manson) and me and I think Eric McCollom is going to go back (to QB) in the spring. And there is Cy Phillips and James Ryan. And then, I'm sure Iowa is going to recruit one or two more quarterbacks. So, all I've got to worry about is myself and taking care of myself and just studying and doing the things that I need to do to get better. The rest will take care of itself.


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