Tate of change a comin'

Drew Tate. (Darren Makowichuk/QMI Agency)

Drew Tate. (Darren Makowichuk/QMI Agency)

IAN BUSBY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:53 PM ET

Drew Tate doesn’t know for sure if he’s the Calgary Stampeders starting quarterback next season.

He would like to know before camp obviously — and not just for his mental state.

It’s the 27-year-old’s physical conditioning that will need to improve if he’s the main man for an entire 18-game season.

“If that’s the decision that is made, the approach in the off-season will be different than previous years,” said Tate, who was a backup to veteran QB Henry Burris for two-and-a-half seasons before taking over for the final part of this CFL campaign.

“I only started three-and-a-half games, and my body is beat down. I will go in with whoever I’m working with and write (goals) all down.

“We will have to figure out what is the best approach and workout schedule. I have to prepare for 18 games and some more.”

In the immediate aftermath of Sunday’s 33-19 West Division semifinal loss to the Edmonton Eskimos at Commonwealth Stadium, Burris made mention that Tate will “use this as motivation this off-season to prepare his body.”

There was no big secret to Burris’ jump in production in the 2008 season that continued through ’09 and ’10.

The Stampeders’ franchise leader in passing yards didn’t perform like one of the elite CFL pivots until switching his off-season training habits.

The 2007 ended with Burris struggling to come back from a dislocated shoulder he believed could have been prevented with better upper-body strength.

Burris came into the next training camp with 20 lb. of muscle. He was a force that season, leading the Stamps to the Grey Cup victory in Montreal.

He kept up the training and never missed a game to injury since.

At 6-feet, 192-lb., there is no question Tate could use a bit more bulk. He suffered a dislocated shoulder during this year’s pre-season, causing him to miss the first five games of the campaign.

If the Texas native and Iowa Hawkeyes product wants to start all 18 games plus playoffs in 2012, the difference will be what happens over the next six months.

“Maybe I have to train a bit more,” Tate said. “I will have to sit down and evaluate what I need to do. I don’t have a plan right now. I have some time to think about it and make a decision. I’m in no hurry right now, obviously.”

With the shock of the off-season coming two weeks earlier than expected because of Sunday’s loss, Tate hasn’t made an off-season plan.

He’s a bit surprised he will might actually be home in Dallas for American Thanksgiving, which is a week from Thursday.

And being that the Stampeders have so many questions this off-season, one of the big ones for Tate is where to live during the winter months.

“I don’t know where I will exactly be,” Tate said. “I was talking to (Stamps linebacker Juwan Simpson). We should just cover up our eyes, get in front of a map and throw a dart.

“Wherever it lands, we will go train there in the off-season. I have to figure it out. There hasn’t been a lot of plans.”

ian.busby@sunmedia.ca

On Twitter @SUNIanBusby


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