November 6, 2012
Drew Tate to start for Stampeders in West Semifinal
By SCOTT FISHER, QMI Agency
CALGARY - It was Decision Day south of the border ... and at McMahon Stadium.
Stamps GM/head coach John Hufnagel announced Drew Tate as his starter for Sunday's playoff showdown against the visiting Saskatchewan Roughriders.
"Drew showed his shoulder is completely healthy," Hufnagel said. "He is throwing the ball accurately. He is seeing the ball well.
"With his athletic ability and being able to extend some plays, and the fact the games he started and played at least a half of football, he has a pretty good winning percentage (83%), (led to the decision).
"Taking all those things into account, I had a gut feeling about going with Drew."
Tate and Kevin Glenn split time the last two weeks of the regular season and put up nearly identical stats.
But despite spending the majority of the season recovering from a dislocated shoulder, Tate did enough to prove he deserved the start.
"Something had to be the deciding factor," Hufnagel said of his gut feeling. "It was close. It wasn't an easy decision. Nor is it the only difficult decision I have with this football game. I'm comfortable with this decision."
"He has the ability to extend plays. He's done that in the games he's played. He did that up in Edmonton (last week). It's one of the things that is part of his game."
Glenn started more than twice as many games this season than Tate has in his young career.
"They've put the rest of the season in my hands and I haven't been on the field as much," Tate said. "It does mean a lot to me.
"It's a challenge and I'm accepting it. I will do the best I possibly can."
The 28-year-old has an impressive track record of 5-1 in his six regular-season starts but dropped his lone starting assignment in last year's playoffs.
He got the hook at halftime last year in Edmonton after going 5-for-10 for 99 yards, an interception and a fumble as the Esks ended the Stamps season with a 33-19 win.
Limiting the costly mistakes that played a big role in that loss will be key.
"I just want to do my job and put us in situations to be successful," Tate said. "By the looks of it, it's been turnovers that has gotten us in the past.
"It seems the common denominator is turnovers. If we keep the ball, don't turn it over and don't put our defence in bad situations, we will be OK."
Stamps running back Jon Cornish said he would have been fine with either quarterback calling the shots.
"We've been playing behind different quarterbacks," Cornish said. "Over the past 30 games, we've had three different quarterbacks.
"As a team, we're prepared to play behind anyone. Drew and Kevin, when you have two great players, it doesn't matter which one starts. You are going to have results.
"It's a big advantage having both. In playoff time, if you have a quarterback go down, normally that's a wrap. Now, we have two guys capable of getting us to the Grey Cup."
On Twitter: @SUNScottFisher