IU Week Transcript: Drew Tate

Iowa Quarterback Drew Tate met with the media on Tuesday as the Hawkeyes prepare for a road trip to Indiana this weekend. In this HN.com Premium Q&A, the senior talks about the running back situation, the progress of his offensive line, looking ahead to Michigan and much more.

Albert said that the offensive line really was the key in what happened in the running game. For you guys and what you did on offense, how important was it for the offensive line to do what it did?

They did an outstanding job in the run and the pass game. For how the first two centers went down, we were moving the ball with (Bruggeman) and those guys. So, they just played well as a group.

Did they get good grades on film?

I don‘t know. I‘m sure they did. Everyone could see they did extremely well for Damian and Shonn and for me, too. The only time I got sacked it was a scramble which I probably should have thrown the ball away. Other than that, they did extremely well.

The way that Tom Busch caught that pass you drilled in there, does he ever lobby to go on out routes or anything?

He‘d probably like to, but I don‘t know if the coaches would like that.

You put a lot of zip on that. You had to thread that in there on the goal line there. It seemed like good hands.

He got moved from linebacker during the spring of our true freshmen year. It was just getting used to the position and his hands weren‘t that great. He didn‘t run real great routes, but he was just learning. Now, he probably has better hands than…his hands are probably up there with somebody like Albert. His hands have gotten great and running routes, he‘s taken a major stride.

Talk about the things Scott does for you aside from the fact that he‘s a big target?

Scott is real smart. He knows the game real well. He knows our offense and the routes and how to adjust routes. He crosses a guy‘s face on a crossing route instead of going behind him. He knows how to do it. He‘s just a real smart football player.

Have you looked at Indiana?

Yeah, we have and I don‘t really think their record shows what type of team they are. Most of that was when their coach was gone. That was unfortunate with his situation, but he‘s back and he‘s going to bring some enthusiasm back. Last year when we played them here, they played us pretty well until, I think, the third quarter or fourth quarter. It‘s a Big Ten game. It‘s a road game. It‘s going to be a 60-minute game, I‘m sure.

You played as a true freshman. You have a couple of true freshmen out there starting. Could you imagine starting as a true freshman and what did you get out of the experience?

In Dominique‘s case, he‘s mature enough and knows the game well enough where he can pick it up and go with things. He‘s still learning in the process, too. He could tell you that. I played a little bit when I was a freshman, but now that we‘re going into our seventh game, if you‘re a freshman or not, you‘ve got plenty of experience now. You‘re still a freshman. You‘re still going to make mistakes. But everyone makes mistakes. You learn pretty quickly what to do and what not to do as a freshman,

Do you wish you had that fifth year now?

I don‘t even really think about it. The coaches had a plan and so far it‘s worked out. The only good things getting out of a red shirt would probably be graduating. It wouldn‘t be such a rush and hassle for four years. It would be our and a half or whatever.

Is it nice to be able to reward Tom Busch with a touchdown? That‘s a guy that does an awful lot of the dirty work.

Yeah, he does. He caught two or three passes the other day. He had a lot of good blocks. That one on our sideline on our sideline on the safety, he did a pretty good job. A guy like that you‘re just real happy when good things happen to him because he does so much for this team and doesn‘t really get as much credit as he should.

You‘re going to represent Indiana‘s biggest opponent to date. How dangerous is that?

It‘s a road game. Every road game in the Big Ten is extremely tough. No matter who you‘re playing, you have to respect them because you know they‘re going to give us their best shot. We can‘t relax any this week because we know that they‘re not going to. They‘re coming in looking for a win at home. I don‘t know their overall record, but I‘m sure they‘d like to beat us. We‘re going in like it‘s a 60-minute game. If it‘s plus-60, than it‘s plus-60. We just have to keep going.

How conscious are you of the offensive line in front of you, how it‘s built and how it comes together? I know you‘ve talked about not knowing who snapped you the ball. But going in, you know who the guys are, right?

Yeah, I know Dace, Jones, Elgin, Seth and Yanda. Seth has done an unbelievable job jumping in there and stepping up. He‘s prepared well from the coaches. They get all those guys ready to go just in case. The next man is always in there and Coach Ferentz always talks about that. The other guys have been playing real well all year. Dace is getting better, Yanda, Jones and Elgin are seniors. Elgin has been going back and forth and doing things. You can‘t say enough about them. They‘ve done great, but we still have a lot of games left.

The blind side left tackle thing is always a big thing for a quarterback. Have you ever had to do any double takes over there this year by Dace? He‘s been pretty solid.

Coach always talks about the left tackle being the sexy position. Everyone wants to be the left tackle because it‘s always the quarterback‘s blind side. I never really thought about it, never really cared. But Dace is a pretty big guy and he‘s got great feet and it‘s pretty hard for a guy to move somebody like that back because he‘s rather large. It doesn't bother me. Whoever is there is there.

Six games into the season, what kind of football team do you think the Hawkeyes are, what kind of football are you playing about halfway through the season?

We‘ve gotten better each week. Really last week, we probably could have played better on offense, especially in the first half by scoring touchdowns in the red zone and stuff like that and the fumbles that we had. But that stuff happens in a football game. You just have to wok through it. We did a great job of coming out in the second half. We really hit it. Our defense played unbelievable against their offense. Two weeks ago, it wasn‘t men on boys like it was a year ago against (Ohio State). We were fighting. We were moving the ball. We just couldn‘t score. There are a lot of good things happening. As the season goes on, it gets more fun. It‘s get a little colder in practice. Guys want to run around and try to stay warm. They‘re enthused a little bit.

So, you feel good about the direction you‘re headed?

I think so. Every week we‘ve continued to get better. We just have to continue to do so. It‘s not going to get any easier schedule wise.

If you could give this team a midterm grade, what would it be?

(Laughs) I don‘t know. I mean, we‘re 5-1 and that‘s better than a lot of team in the country. A lot of teams would love to be 5-1 right now. I‘d say that we were good but we need to be better in this half of the season.

In terms of younger guys like Douglas and Brodell, how big was the performance on Saturday for the confidence of the offensive unit?

I don‘t know. I don‘t even know what those guys look at. I don‘t think they probably worry about that stuff. They‘re probably more focused on themselves, which they should be. They‘ve got a lot on their plate and a lot of stuff they need to work on as well as I and the other guys, too. I think they were happy that we were able to move the ball up and down the field like we did. I think they see that we missed a couple of plays with those guys. If the ball would have been shorter a little bit or whatever, they see that. They‘re optimistic about things and wanting to get better.

Are you confident in whoever you turn around and hand the ball to?

Yeah, I mean we‘ve got some good running backs. And I don‘t know what the status is with Albert or anything like that. Coach will know that. But we‘ve got three good running backs. They all bring a lot to the table really.

Is this the best bunch of running backs you‘ve had since you‘ve been here?

I‘d say a little better than ‘04. (Laughs) I was looking at the thing and Shonn averaged 8 yards a carry and Damian averaged almost eight yards a carry, That‘s pretty good in a Big Ten game.

Do you like going 12 games straight through or is this the time of year where a bye week might be good?

Yeah, definitely. I think Coach Ferentz said he was in favor of the bye week and I think everyone is. That was always a nice thing to have a week off. Unfortunately, it‘s not that way. You just have to keep playing. It‘s not a big deal. It‘s human nature to relax, but in football if you want to be a championship caliber team, you just can‘t relax. You always have to have a chip on your shoulder and you always want to move forward.

How is your health this week? Are you feeling as good as you did the other day?

Good. I had a great week of practice last week. I think it will just keep getting better.

How much easier was it for you last week when you know the running game was really controlling the line of scrimmage?

I don‘t know. It just gives is an opportunity to move the ball as opposed to just throwing every down. They have to respect both. When you put a lot of guys in the box, we can throw it. When they drop everybody back, we can run it. We‘ve got the ability to do both and we did it on Saturday.

What aspect of Chandler's game has improve the most?

Probably blocking. He's always been good at running routes and catching. I'm sure the run game with him coming off the ball, his steps, reaching, all that stuff, I'm pretty sure has gotten a lot better than it was last year and the year before.

Have defenses given you a different look when Damian and Shonn are in there as opposed to when Albert is in?

I don't think so. Coordinators just kind of see things and feel that what they're doing against us is best with whoever is in there. I don't know how much Syracuse did different to us if I would have been in there or something like that.

Is this week the biggest challenge not to look ahead to next week?

Yeah, I don't think anyone is talking about in two weeks. We have enough on our plate right now. There's enough maturity on this team to focus and just take one week at a time. Every week is a new season. We didn't look past Illinois going into Ohio State. I don't seeing us doing that now.

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