Tate lends advice to Stamps wannabes

Drew Tate goes through Stampeders walkthrough Thursday. Photo by Darren Makowichuk/Calgary Sun

Drew Tate goes through Stampeders walkthrough Thursday. Photo by Darren Makowichuk/Calgary Sun

WES GILBERTSON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:33 PM ET

CALGARY - Perhaps he could scribble some notes on the airplane barf bag or save a few ideas on his cell-phone.

Or maybe he’ll just go from memory.

Calgary Stampeders quarterback Drew Tate will address his teammates prior to Friday’s pre-season clash with the Saskatchewan Roughriders, and although the soft-spoken signal-caller wouldn’t reveal his message, he won’t have a problem identifying with the guys fighting for full-time employment. He’s been there.

The mentality? Tate remembers the feeling like it was yesterday.

“Don’t screw up, you know?” Tate recalled with a grin. “Because this was pretty much my last shot on making the team in 2009. It was just take advantage of your reps, take advantage of your opportunity and don’t ever regret not making a play or deciding to do something. Just let it loose, put it all out there, and if it doesn’t work out, at least you put it all out there. But don’t ever, don’t ever …

“In this game, unlike any other game, I don’t think you can ever play timid, coach timid, call plays timid …” he continued. “As soon as you start getting timid, then you lose your edge and you’re done — and the opponent has the advantage. It’s all about having the edge in this game, to me. As soon as you’re playing timid, that means you’re on your heels and you’re getting passed up.”

Tate cashed in on his pre-season audition with the Stamps in 2009 and has climbed up the depth chart, entering this season as the undisputed starting pivot for the Stampeders.

The 27-year-old shouldn’t lose any shuteye after Friday’s exhibition finale against the Roughriders (7 p.m., No TV, QR77), but it will be a restless night for many Stamps’ wannabes. Their roster must be trimmed to 46 by 8 p.m. Saturday, and while some will be stashed on the injured list or practice roster, others will be booking the long flight home.

The deliberations are in the late stages, but Stamps GM/head coach John Hufnagel admitted he’s been persuaded in the past by a stellar performance in the final pre-season look-see.

“It has happened. It definitely has happened,” Hufnagel said. “Obviously, we’ve gone through our perceived starting roster, our perceived practice roster and things like that, but when you have a position with two or three names on it, where’s it’s still an open battle — and I have a lot of those on the board — then (the game) means a lot.”

It means a lot for both sides.

One week ago, the Riders arrived in B.C. without several of their projected starters and were unceremoniously thumped by the Lions. The 44-10 outcome was so ugly, some accused the defending Grey Cup champions of running up the score.

The Stamps, on the strength of Rob Maver’s game-winning field goal, notched a 20-17 victory over the Edmonton Eskimos in their pre-season opener. It’s worth noting, though, the Stamps didn’t put any points on the board while Tate was at the controls.

The former University of Iowa Hawkeyes standout will start Friday’s game and likely see action until at least halftime — and maybe even longer. However, he’ll probably be without receiver Ken-Yon Rambo, who is bothered by a leg injury and skipped Thursday’s walkthrough.

“We’ve still got a long ways to go — I really believe that,” Tate said. “The good thing is we have another opportunity to get better as a team, as a unit and personally. We don’t take these things for granted. This is our job, and this is how we get better at what we do.”

wes.gilbertson@sunmedia.ca

On Twitter: @SUNGilbertson


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