Is Tate fast enough?

Submitted by HokeHogan on November 10th, 2009 at 10:02 AM

first of all let me just say "I love me some TF", but in watching the past couple games I cant help but wonder if TF is fast enough to run the spread to its full potential. DE's dont seem to respect his ability to run at all. i think this leads to the relentless pressure we deal with week in and week out from opposing d-lines, thus leading to more poor decisions at the qb position. dont get me wrong he makes some nice runs here and there but often just cant get to the edge. watching the games the DE's crash down without paying the price of a long run busted by TF quite often. just a question after watching saturday. also i thought any thread that didnt say OMG our defense sux would be a welcome change.



November 10th, 2009 at 10:10 AM ^

he is pretty fast once he gets going but lacks that quick first step necessary for him to break off a big run (i know he's had a couple but mostly were on complete blown assignments from the opposing D). he's obviously good enough that we can keep running the option and keep the defense honest. however, he's not putting the fear of pat white in anyone...few are i guess for that matter.

Gerald R. Ford

November 10th, 2009 at 10:44 AM ^

His brain has to speed up. The game is still a bit fast for him; he is not making his decisions and committing effectively. Thus, the happy feet and inability to act on instinct quickly. When the game slows down in his head, we'll see some better timing, ball fakes, etc... Then you will see the defenses hang back a bit. They all know this, and they are capitalizing on it by putting mega-pressure on him now. This is improving from one game to the next (my opinion).


November 10th, 2009 at 1:42 PM ^

It seems that this yours a pretty accurate assessment. From my observations, Tate has a set of fairly good moves that especially work when he has an idea of where he should be going (called plays, e.g.), but that are often slow to materialize when he's forced to think on his feet. According to his own self-evaluation, the game has begun to slow down (during the Illinois debacle, no less). It will be good to see the fruit of his catching up and see if the reads improve and the panic levels decrease.


November 10th, 2009 at 2:22 PM ^

He'll get there (mentally, at least). He looked pretty good against Purdue and made some quick decisions and broke out of his slump. Hopefully we can finish this season with a bowl game so that they have a taste of success and workhorse their way through the summer...sometimes once you've tasted a bit of success, the motivation is that much stronger.


November 10th, 2009 at 10:15 AM ^

its more of he doesn't always read the DE correctly. there has been a few times that he hands the ball off even though the DE is crashing down, those are the times that he needs to take the ball himself. that is the only way he can keep the defense honest. plus a little more work on the ball fake will help him get the edge better, for example please watch juice williams...


November 10th, 2009 at 10:29 AM ^

I think he's plenty fast enough, he just needs to react faster to what the D is bringing. That will come with time. Take the two point conversion for example, if he'd had seen the hole that was there he may have walked into the endzone.


November 10th, 2009 at 10:32 AM ^

Ask the LB and safeties from ND that he juked and ran by on that 40 yd td run if he's fast enough.

I agree. I think he is fast enough and has good (not great though) quickness he just is not making the correct reads yet.


November 10th, 2009 at 10:36 AM ^

Hey, I am happy with what Tate has done too, but have you watched how defenses freak out about Denard? I am definitely NOT saying that any change should be made, but you can understand why the staff likes the potential. If Denard could just improve enough in his passing to keep the defense from loading up the box, he could do a lot of damage.

Will we ever see it? I kind of doubt it, but if Tate had been more severely injured, we'd be giving it a shot. Probably Tate runs well enough and will be more dangerous with improved reads, fakes, and fitness. And DG will take over down the line.

I hope there will of plenty more highlights from Denard's Michigan career, but it's anyone's guess as to how it will all play out.

Maize and Blue…

November 10th, 2009 at 10:49 AM ^

If putting 8 or 9 in the box is considered freaking out I guess you're right. I think they would freak out more if both Tate and DRob were lined up in the same backfield together. Generally, Ds don't freak out over a one dimensional player which is what DRob currently is. His speed may put fear into defenders, but they know he is going to run.
Why does everyone here still believe this is going to be the WVU version of the spread? Haven't you watched enough games already to realize that this is going to be a balanced O with close to a 50/50 mix of pass and run.


November 10th, 2009 at 12:57 PM ^

i wasnt implying that we were trying to be pat white at wvu. my point is more that if our oline cant block would we be better off with a pure speed guy to keep the pressure created by the blitz. opposing teams are sending the house 3 out of five plays. when we cant block a basic defense


November 10th, 2009 at 10:37 AM ^

He's fast, but he could be quicker. As mentioned by other commenters, he gets caught often once he makes a move to 'flee' the pocket, one of his most popular runs as of late. I'll be satisfied with his feet however, if he improves his reads and management of the game.


November 10th, 2009 at 10:42 AM ^

Yeah, the defenses do get a little jumpy when denard is in. It was nice to see them try something new with him even though it went for a loss. I know it has been discussed to no end (DR in as a rb or wr) but I miss the days of the wr reverse. You could always count on that at least once a game and it would, more times than not, yeild positive results. Let's get DR, M.O. or even Vincent Smith line up at wr and give it a go. Couldn't hurt.


November 10th, 2009 at 11:00 AM ^

I just wish he'd stop the unnecessary "I'm going to stop just before I go out of bounds" juke that opens him up for a hit from the defender. That might work once every few games, but sooner or later he's going to take a monster hit.

It seems like he does it at least once a game. Scares me everytime.


November 10th, 2009 at 11:42 AM ^

than Northwestern's most successful QBs of the Randy Walker/Fitzgerald era. Zach Kustok*, Brett Basanez and to a lesser extent CJ Bacher all ran successfully in essentially the Rodriguez offense, and I'd take Tate in a race against any of them.

*I hate to bring up painful memories, but next time ESPN Classic or BTN re-airs the '00 UM-NU game, you'll see Kustok rack up 120 or so rushing yards, and he's no Denard.


November 10th, 2009 at 12:19 PM ^

All of those NW QBs were playing against the Michigan def that turned even slightly mobile QBs into superstars. I wish our offense of today could play against our defenses of 98-present. Tate would rush for 150 and throw for 250 (if the receievers didn't drop half a dozen balls a game).


November 10th, 2009 at 12:50 PM ^

great point and i dont remember even one stud olineman on those nw teams. ill tell you what if gardner is able to stay somewhat accurate hes really going to compete for playing time. assuming he picks up the offense fairly quickly. he won the "best in the class room award" at the elite eleven and every time he is mentioned by any sports writer two things come up: 1.unusual delivery 2.hard worker. this coupled with the fact hes going to enroll early should make thing interesting for the next couple of years


November 10th, 2009 at 12:18 PM ^

from just about anyone if hes not going backwards for atleast 3 yard, even on a bad play. Tate might not have that kind of speed but most people don't. But I agree with alot of people that Tates arm & his eventual quicker reads will make him faster.


November 10th, 2009 at 1:39 PM ^

he's probably fast enough, but he won't break many tackles, and frankly, i'm pleased as punch any time he gets back on his feet after being tackled. he's a brazen youth.

i am, however, concerned for young tate's wellbeing after Gibson, Heyward and Wilson get a crack at him. dear god... that's kind of scary.


November 10th, 2009 at 3:57 PM ^

He's fast enough, its just the offensive line not blocking for him. See the Notre Dame run. When he can get some blocks he can make plays with his feet. When there's 3 guys coming at him within 3-4 seconds he can't really run.


November 10th, 2009 at 9:44 PM ^

I don’t think he’s as fast as some may think, but I think he is smart enough and hungry enough to make it work. I think he’ll be a beast next year. He won’t be a factor like Pat White on the ground, but I think we’ll see RR pass more than he did with White.