Dec. 26, 2003
Heir apparent? Not so fast buster, says Iowa freshman quarterback Drew Tate.
Tate, a 6-foot, 170-pound true freshman from Baytown, Texas, may be considered by many as the No. 1 back-up to Nathan Chandler as the Iowa Hawkeyes continue preparations for the 2004 Outback Bowl, but don’t go giving him the nod as Iowa’s starter next August.
“Well, that’s not for certain. Just because you’re No. 2 right now doesn’t mean anything. You got to earn everything you get around here,” Tate told a group of newsmen who gathered for Iowa’s Outback Bowl media day in Tampa.
Tate is one of seven true freshmen on Iowa’s 2003 roster to see action during Iowa’s Outback Bowl regular season. He will enter Raymond James Stadium on Jan. 1 for the Hawkeyes’ nationally televised date with Florida having completed six of 10 passes for 55 yards and a touchdown, a 13-yard strike to Matt Melloy in the fourth quarter of Iowa’s 41-10 victory over Illinois.
He also showed an ability to run the ball as well, collecting 46 yards on five carries. His long was a 17-yard gallop against the Illini.
And, yes, undoubtedly, to the trained eye of the Iowa coaching staff, he also showed the ability to be, well, a freshman.
Tate figures he’s in a horse race to follow in the footsteps of Chandler as Iowa’s field general. And, as far as this talented Texan in concerned, the list of horses is a long and talented one. So long and so talented that Tate knows whoever comes out on top will have worked long and hard for the opportunity.
“I have to get stronger, work out, throw the ball every day, watch film and pretty much go over whatever I can go over as much as I can,” he said confidently.
“Well, that’s not for certain. Just because you’re No. 2 right now doesn’t mean anything. You got to earn everything you get around here.”
Iowa Freshman Drew Tate
“I’m getting more comfortable every day. It’s a big change from high school and the type of offense I ran in high school.”
Tate also knows he’s one play away from game action on Jan. 1, another potential “Next Man In” for the Iowa Hawkeyes, 2003 edition. It’s a role he’s handled throughout the 2003 season and one he’s taken seriously.
“I’ll be ready,” he said when asked if he’s prepared to take over if needed when the Hawkeyes square off against the Gators for only the second time ever.
“I know I’m only one play away. I have to be ready and I am.”
Many figure the horse race features three thoroughbreds. Tate, red-shirt freshman Jason Manson of Bloomfield, Conn., and freshman Eric McCollom of Camden, S.C., who volunteered to play wide receiver earlier this year when that portion of the Hawkeye roster got a little thin due to injury.
“I’ve got three more years to do what I can do. Like the other guys, I’m going to work hard and see what I can do to help this program continue to win,” Tate said.