Calgary Stampeders QB Drew Tate looking to up the tempo

Stamps QB Drew Tate has seen limited action over the past few years. (DARREN MAKOWICHUK/QMI Agency)

Stamps QB Drew Tate has seen limited action over the past few years. (DARREN MAKOWICHUK/QMI Agency)

SCOTT MITCHELL, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:20 PM ET

CALGARY - Take the simplistic approach, and Drew Tate could be viewed as a CFL veteran approaching make-it-or-break-it time.

After all, the 28-year-old Calgary Stampeders starting signal-caller first ventured north six years ago.

But dig a little deeper and you may find more watermelon carcasses strewn across the Mosaic Stadium parking lot Thursday evening than career passes thrown by Tate since 2007.

That's 294 regular-season heaves, in case you weren't counting.

To put the lack of work in perspective, Tate had 352 attempts in his final college campaign at Iowa in 2006.

Combine two years spent apprenticing on the Saskatchewan Roughriders practice roster with two seasons behind Henry Burris, followed by the litany injury issues that have dogged the Texan since the past two seasons, and you'll find some rust.

"I haven't played a lot of football in six years," Tate said following Wednesday's walk-thru at McMahon Stadium before the team charters a plane Thursday for the Stamps' final pre-season tune-up in Regina against the Riders (8 p.m., QR770). "I mean, I probably have under 500 plays, 400 plays or something like that since I've been up here in the CFL."

It's the reason Tate was frustrated with his 2-of-7 for seven yards performance last week.

At the same time, it's also the reason he's not worried about one quarter of work.

"Last year, I had a worse first pre-season game than I did this year," said Tate, recalling his 6-of-12 performance that included an interception. "That's the media's job and everyone's job to sit up (in the stands) and point and talk about who did what and who didn't do what. That's just the way the game is played and that's just the society we live in and how sports is in general.

"If I listened to what people thought about me, or said about me or my play, I never would have made it out of Baytown, Texas."

The calls for backup quarterback Kevin Glenn before the regular season even kicks off, or the idea third-stringer Bo Levi Mitchell is the future in Calgary don't faze Tate in the least.

A short memory is everything, he says.

"Regardless if it's playing football or washing my car or keeping my house clean, I strive for excellence in everything," Tate said. "When I don't reach that, yeah, I get bummed out, but now that I'm getting older, I've realized I'm not always going to be at the top and do everything the best. The thing about football, and what's so great about it, is the opportunity and you always play for the next play. As soon as the play's over, regardless of if you threw a touchdown pass or a pick-six, you've got another play and that's really what's most important."

With Tate expected to play the first half Thursday, he's got a simple list of goals to check off in order to head into the season-opener against the B.C. Lions on a high note.

"The goal is to get first downs, get tempo, move the ball, be accurate, and if they want to come with some sort of blitz, pick that up and get the ball out," Tate said. "But mainly, it's really to find a rhythm, get tempo and move the chains. And then, personally, for me, it's to be accurate. I just wasn't accurate last week.

"We've had a lot better practise this week after the first pre-season game. The tempo was really good. We were throwing and catching really good, so hopefully it carries over to the game."

scott.mitchell@sunmedia.ca

twitter.com/SUNMitchell


Videos

Photos