Tate: New Kid on Block

Another era of Iowa football kicks off Saturday when Drew Tate lines up under center. It will mark the sixth time in as many years that the Hawkeyes will employ a new starter at QB. But the Texan is only a sophomore and could lead the team for the next three seasons. Read what he had to say about his first career start, the injury to his backup, who he looked up to in high school, hs concerns for Saturday and more in this HN.com feature.

Was it tough learning that your backup would miss time with a foot injury?

You start to think about what if something happened and I couldn't play or somebody else on the team couldn't play. It's hard. Everyone just feels real bad for him. He was real positive. He's a good leader on the field, too. My heart goes out for him, but I know that he'll be back whenever he comes back and he'll be ready to play.

Will Eric still push you at the level that Jason Manson would?

Yeah. I think so. I think that everyone pushes everyone, but we all help each other out in practice and meetings.

Kirk was saying that Eric is probably the best athlete of the quarterbacks. Do you see that?

Well, yeah, but I mean he's probably more of a runner type than us. But Jason and I can get out, too. I'd say that Jason and I are pretty much the same. Eric is probably a little bit more of a runner than a thrower. They recruited us because they wanted a guy that can move around. So, all of us can move. We're not going to outrun anybody or anything, but we can get out of things and get down and get out of bounds or something.

Is that an underrated part of your game? People see your high school passing numbers and kind of expect someone standing in the pocket.

Yeah. That's what happened in high school. They would just rush three people and drop eight. I don't know how many yards I had rushing my senior year. But that's what everyone assumes that you're just going to sit around and throw it. I got a lot of rushing yards in high school. It's hard for a defense to respect a runner and a thrower from the same position.

Do you like running?

If I need to run, I'll run. I'm not scared to run. I've got to get down or get out of bounds or something, but if it's there I'm going to go.

Who is the fastest of the QBs?

I don't know. We haven't really run a 40 or anything. Jason and I have the best shuttle run.

What do you run a 40 in?

I ran one in high school. I ran a 4.69. I don't know what I run now. That was when I was going into my junior year.

Do you have a comfort level with the receiving core that you have now? Is there a certain guy that you're most comfortable with?

I'm comfortable with all of the guys that are playing. I think that I can speak for them that they're comfortable with me. The comraderie with us is really good. We're getting more on the same page. They're getting used to my kind of style. They're thinking what I'm thinking. That's what's good. That's what you need. If you don't know what you're guy is going to do, you're going to be in trouble.

Do you know much about the Ironmen?

I don't know anything about them. I never even heard of them.

Do you know who Nile Kinnick is?

I know who Nike Kinnick is. I didn't know who he was until I came here.

What did you learn last year from being able to sit and watch instead of being thrown in the mix?

I saw how Chandler prepared last year in game week and how he handled certain things and situation. And when I got to play, I finally got some experience in Kinnick; and some games on the road just to see what it's like besides going against our defense; going against somebody else's defense and seeing how quick they are. It's all about experience.

Do you regret not redshirting now or do you think that was worth it?

It doesn't really matter to me. I'm glad that I played. I lettered. I got all of that stuff. That was good. I've only got three more years to do my thing. If I would have redshirted, I would have had four more years. It doesn't really matter. The coaches recruited me. So, they were going to do whatever they wanted to do with me. Playing last year, I didn't regret it at all.

Did you room with Nathan on the road? He said that he learned a lot from Brad. Did you take anything from him?

Yeah and no. I saw how you go through the game plan and that kind of stuff and then the meetings; and then just on practice and stuff like that. When you're watching, you learn a lot. That was a real plus for me.

When you were growing up playing QB, did you watch or emulate anybody?

Every Saturday after our games I'd always want to go in and watch Drew Brees. He was from Texas, and they threw it everywhere. I really liked watching Major Applewhite. I just love college football. I like watching anybody, really.

What are your biggest concerns for yourself heading into your first start?

Just making sure that I've got my checks down and knowing what they're going to do in certain situations as far as Kent State.

Do you know what they're going to do defensively?

We've got tape, so we're watching. I think that we've got a little clue.

Do you have any superstitions? Do you do anything special before a game?

Not really. I wear a high school shirt underneath my pads. That's probably the only thing. I've been wearing it since my junior year.

It must be getting kind of ripped up.

It's getting a little faded. It used to be maroon. Now, it's kind of bright pink.

Are you getting nervous?

I think that if you're prepared, and you know what you've got to do and you know what you're expecting, and you've just prepared yourself all week, then you know what you're getting into when you go in. If somebody is nervous, then they're not prepared and they're worried about people in the stands or what they're going to say or something like that. If you just worry about you, your game plan, and everyone around you, then it takes care of itself as far as not being nervous.

Will your family be here?

Yeah. I've got my mom, my aunt, my dad and then two really good friends of his from Clinton. It's pretty exciting.

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