Tate makes case for QB job

IAN BUSBY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:02 AM ET

Drew Tate isn't a large man. Nor is he Usain Bolt-fast and he doesn't throw footballs through brick walls.

Maybe he's a guy who just clicks when the stadium lights come on.

Based on his entire CFL experience -- more than a quarter of action in Wednesday's 37-30 pre-season win over the B.C. Lions -- the Calgary Stampeders quarterback looks like he can play.

Tate went 4-of-6 passing for 97 yards and a TD, with a rushing major, as well, in opening some eyes.

"It's all about the game," said Tate. "They have all these things. They measure guys to see how fast they are ... it's all about how you play in a game.

"If you can play in game, all that other stuff -- although important -- doesn't make a difference. It's all about the game and whether you win or lose."

Two weeks before training camp opened, Tate was sitting and waiting, wondering if his career was done. The 25-year-old Iowa product spent two seasons on the Saskatchewan Roughriders practice roster, but never saw a sniff of action, not even in the pre-season.

Tate attended a Stamps tryout camp in Florida, but the team was full of pivots with Matt D'Orazio getting the open fourth spot behind Henry Burris, Barrick Nealy and Will Proctor.

When Proctor retired a week or so before camp opened, Tate was finally called in to get a look.

Those were some anxious days.

"Pretty much, because I had no job," Tate said.

"There are so many guys out there just waiting for a phone call.

"I was one of them. It goes back to making the most of the opportunity when you get it. I'm fortunate to have one right now.

"I guess I have Will Proctor to thank."

Tate's opportunity with the Stamps may have just improved.

Designated No.-2 pivot Nealy left Wednesday's win with a groin injury and is day-to-day.

The Stamps have four days of practices before heading to Regina to wrap up the pre-season schedule against the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

Burris will get plenty of action to tune up for the season, but Tate and D'Orazio will likely see some time.

"I'm excited to go back," Tate said. "I never got a chance to play there. They have great fans.

"Everywhere they go in the CFL, there is a lot of green in the stands. I'm excited for it.

"It was frustrating not playing. Any player wants to play. Every player is like that. They are competitors.

"If they didn't want to play they wouldn't make it this far. Not getting a chance is real frustrating."

Stamps head coach/GM John Hufnagel was tempered in his excitement about Tate's performance, saying it wasn't a surprise.

"He made a great throw on the corner route and those are the things you need from the quarterback position," Hufnagel said about a 50-yard toss to Jermaine Jackson that was almost a touchdown.

When Tate was doing post-game interviews, veteran receiver Ryan Thelwell leaned in to offer his opinion of the 5-foot-10, 185-lb. pivot.

"He's the real deal," Thelwell said.


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