Oct. 10, 2014
- Hawkeye Football Game Day
- 2014 Fall Camp Central
- Read the October issue of Hawk Talk Monthly
- Download your Hawk Talk Monthly iOS app
- Download your Hawk Talk Monthly android app
- Download your Iowa Hawkeye iPhone/iPad app
- Download your Iowa Hawkeye android app
- Big Ten Network: Free Hawkeye Video
- 24 Hawkeyes to Watch
By DARREN MILLER
IOWA CITY, Iowa — Drew Tate’s football dreams didn’t include visions of the NFL. He wanted to quarterback a major college program and he earned that opportunity at the University of Iowa from 2003-06.
Tate will serve as honorary captain Oct. 11 when the Hawkeyes host Indiana inside Kinnick Stadium for Homecoming. Kickoff is scheduled for 11:01 a.m. (CT).
In his first season as a starter in 2004, Tate led Iowa to a 10-2 record (7-1 in Big Ten play).
“It was like a dream come true, because it was my first year to start in college,” Tate said Friday during an exclusive interview with hawkeyesports.com. “Growing up, I never wanted to play in the NFL as much as being a quarterback at a major university. The best thing was that I stayed healthy the entire year.”
His arrival in Iowa was no direct flight from Baytown, Texas, to Iowa City. Tate committed to Texas A&M, but Aggies head caoch R.C. Slocum resigned after a 6-6 record in 2002.
After football practice in late October of early November of 2002, Tate walked into the office of his coach (and father) Dick Olin.
“He played a message on the phone and it was (former Hawkeye assistant coach) Carl Jackson,” Tate said. “Carl called and said `We heard there were problems at Texas A&M, coach Slocum might not be there next year. If that’s the case is Drew looking to go other places?’
“It was like a dream come true, because it was my first year to start in college. Growing up, I never wanted to play in the NFL as much as being a quarterback at a major university. The best thing was that I stayed healthy the entire year.”
Football honorary captain
“I vividly remember that voice mail. I didn’t know much about Iowa, I knew about Tim Dwight and it was the year Brad Banks (was quarterback) and (Iowa) started having success. I popped up on a visit a month later and fell in love with it.”
Tate passed for 8,292 yards and 61 touchdowns for the Hawkeyes, but there are two plays from the 2004 season that stick out more than most. The first was at Michigan when Tate had his helmet torn off by a defender, but unfazed despite having a cut to his face, he scrambled and completed a pass. The second was the final pass he threw in the 2005 Capital One Bowl in Orlando. With no time on the clock, Tate found Warren Holloway for a 56-yard scoring toss giving the Hawkeyes a win, 30-25.
“Lucky enough, the right play was called and lucky enough, (LSU) had a blitz on defensively we were supposed to go hot with that I hit Clinton (Solomon) on earlier in the game for a touchdown,” Tate said. “Same blitz, same formation, but I held onto it longer because I knew it was going to be the last play.
“The best part about it was it was Warren’s first touchdown in college and he was a fifth-year senior. I feel if he wasn’t on our team it probably wouldn’t have ever happened. I think it was all for him.”
Tate currently plays for Calgary in the Canadian Football League. The Stampeders have already clinched a playoff spot with a 12-2 record. In his professional career, Tate has completed 66 percent of his pass attempts for 28 touchdowns and nearly 4,000 yards. He was a member of the Saskatchewan Roughriders in 2007 when they won the Grey Cup.
“(Football) has meant everything to me,” Tate said. “When my dad married my mom he brought football into our life and football has given us everything as a family. Both my brothers are coaches (in Texas), (Olin) coached forever, and I’m still playing. I turned 30 two days ago and I’m living the dream. It doesn’t get better than this.”
Overcoming adversity is what made the 2004 Big Ten championship season special, Tate said. The Hawkeyes were next to last in the nation in rushing yards per game, but their defense was one of the best in the country.
“There are no excuses, you find a way to get the job done,” Tate said. “If you have a helmet on and cleats on, then it’s your responsibility to get the job done. That’s what (our coaches) fed us, we believed it, and it is true.”