Drew Tate: A Father's Perspective

Dick Olin had the privilege of coaching Iowa reserve quarterback Drew Tate in high school, in addition to being Tate's father. Olin, an Iowa native, knows more about Tate's football abilities than anyone else, as he exposed Drew to the nuances of the game for Tate's entire life. Hawkeyenation.com recently spoke with Olin about Tate's first year in Iowa, life as the #2 quarterback in Iowa City and the experiences that helped mold Tate into the most decorated high school passer in Texas history.

Dick Olin knows that the ‘celebrity' status that his son Drew Tate experienced this year as Iowa's back up quarterback may have been fleeting moments.

After all, the Iowa City saying goes something like this: The most popular member of the football team is the backup quarterback.

"We talked about that," said a laughing Olin, who is Tate's father and former high school coach at Baytown (Lee), Texas. "I said ‘let me tell you something; if you are fortunate enough to earn the starting position, I guarantee you that the #2 guy will be the person that everybody wants."

"But he (Tate) knows that. As the coach's son down here, he started for us for four years, which is unheard of. Everybody said at the start that he was no good and he was only playing because he was my son and all of that stuff, so he has heard that his whole life."

12,180 passing yards and 113 touchdown passes later, both of which were Texas state records at the time, Tate proved his worth to the hometown folks and all was forgotten.

Tate played sparingly this year, serving as the backup to Nathan Chandler during his true freshman season. But the bullets will fly for real next fall and the stakes will most certainly be higher than they were during the mop up duty that Tate received in Iowa's wins against Buffalo, Iowa State and Minnesota.

But that still didn't make Tate's extended appearance in the Buffalo game any less special for father and son.

"We laughed about the Iowa fans cheering Drew when he came into that game. I tell you what though; it was a heck of a thrill." Olin said of Tate's first snap as a Hawkeye on September 6th, 2003.

"I was there for the Buffalo game when he went in, in the second quarter, and so many of the fans had stayed and stood and cheered. Drew said that was the best feeling that he had ever had in a football game. From a parent's standpoint, good gosh, that put a lump in my throat. Here is a little guy that was with us in Texas just a year ago and now he is wearing the Black and Gold and taking snaps out there at Kinnick Stadium."

For Olin, an Iowa native, the moment was extra special.

"It was really unreal. I told Drew that I am living vicariously through him. I had to wear the purple and gold of Northern Iowa; I was not good enough to go to Iowa."

Tate came out of nowhere in August and ascended the depth charts, supplanting Jason Manson as Iowa's #2 quarterback. Manson had one full year at Iowa under his belt, but the quick thinking Tate was able to pass him by, something did not totally shock Olin.

"Because of where he played; our kids here (in Texas) have so many more opportunities than most because of the athletic period. We have kids in football year round every day, so we can do so much more with the kids than what you could do say in Iowa, where you have football from August until November and then you don't see those kids again until summer." Olin said.

"We have our kids every single day. And Drew has been around football basically his entire life, so he has heard everything that has ever been said to our quarterbacks or anyone else and he got to watch tape."

"Believe it or not, when Drew was little, he used to take all of our tapes home and watch them, because I have the VCR set up at home. He watched everything and he would watch our opponents, I mean everything. I would get tapes from college coaches on their passing games and different things, like quarterback drills; he would watch everything. He has been around it and has been exposed to it."

After watching Tate in the limited action he has seen, I have gotten the sense that he has a little bit of that ‘Doug Flutie moxie' in him, something Olin agreed with.

If Tate earns the starting position next year, we asked Olin what Iowa fans might expect to see out of number five.

"I think you are going to see a person that is a competitor and a person that is a pretty good leader. He will fight you in a heartbeat; he wants to win. He will do what ever he has to do to move the chains."

Some players come into college expecting and even wanting to redshirt. For a quarterback, there are so many new things thrown at them that makes a redshirt year almost a necessity. So was Tate disappointed when he did not redshirt?

"Oh no. He was happy to be there. He thought for sure that he was going to redshirt and we had talked about that. Usually when you go into a college situation, there are going to be players there that will know the situation and be so far advanced, but he was very happy with everything that happened this year." Olin said, adding that Tate is now approaching 190-pounds and stands in at 6-feet.

"Him being the #2, he was always there. He got reps in practice, he was ready to go in the game, and he had to know the game plan; that is invaluable. Since he was #2 this year, I would assume that he is going to be projected as the #1 when you enter spring and it would be his job to lose. I really don't know how they will evaluate that."

Even though Olin's duties as a high school coach at the 5A level in Texas, the state's largest classification, keep him very busy, Iowa fans will certainly see him in the stands next year, starting with the Spring game.

"Oh heck yeah, you will see me a lot up there. I was talking about retiring and becoming a custodian at Iowa so we could go to the games," Olin joked. Or at least I think he was joking.


2003: Tate played in five games, completing six of ten passes for 65 yards and one touchdown pass. Saw his most extensive action of the season over two quarters against Buffalo in the season opener. He had five rushes for 46 yards, with a long of 17 yards.

High school honors - - Four-time first team all-conference honoree . . . verbally committed to Texas A&M prior to their making a coaching change, then decommitted...senior season honors include U.S. Army all-American, second team AP all-state, Houston Touchdown Club Offensive Player of the Year and Houston Chronicle Greater Houston Area Offensive Player of the Year as a junior and senior . . . 2002 Tom Lemming Prep Football All-American… rated 175th best player in the country by Tom Lemming… other junior season honors include Scholastic Coach all-American, first team all-state, Texas Gatorade Player of the Year and AP Offensive Player of the Year . . . sophomore, junior and senior team MVP

Career - - four-year varsity starter . . . upon graduation, he held the Texas career records for completions (970), attempts (1,576) passing yards (12,180) touchdown passes (113) and touchdown passes in one half (7). . . guided team to four consecutive Class 5A playoff appearances, Texas' large-school division . . . passed for 3,621 yards and 35 touchdowns as a senior . . . passed for 3,916 yard and 44 touchdowns while guiding team to Texas' 7-on-7 state championship as a junior . . . was intercepted just five times in 496 attempts as a junior . . . passed for 2,540 yards 22 touchdowns as a sophomore . . . passed for 2,106 yards and 12 touchdowns as a freshman.

Personal - - Born 10/8/84 . . . education major . . . parents are Martha and Dick Olin . . . high school coach was Dick Olin.

High school and biographical information supplied by www.hawkeyefootball.com

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