Interview with Notre Dame WR Golden Tate
Interview with Notre Dame Wide Receiver Golden Tate
Notre Dame wide receiver Golden Tate has arrived at the NFL Combine to further cement his projected first-round draft status. But before he left for Indianapolis, the speedster talked about his preparation, his play-making ability and much more in this exclusive interview with Scout.com's Ed Thompson.
Ed Thompson: As you've been preparing for the NFL Combine what's been going through your head? And how have you been preparing yourself for this big event?
Golden Tate: I want to do my best and I want to put myself in the best situation to impress all 32 teams. Hopefully they'll see something in me that can help them in the upcoming years. As far as training, I've been very fortunate to train at Athlete's Performance in Phoenix, Arizona. They've done a great job with getting me ready for the Combine and the different tests, even with things like the Wonderlic and the interview process. I think it's been great for me. I've been very fortunate to work with Coach Roy Green, a legend when he played wide receiver. Nick and Joel do a great job with our field work--the 5-10-5, the 3-cone drill, and the 40. Many of us were never taught how to run, we were just blessed with fast feet and strong legs. But those guys have been great at teaching us the technique and also about nutrition to help us get rid of the body fat and turn it into lean mass. I'm very appreciative to be a part of the program.
Thompson: Golden, one of the words that pop into mind anytime someone talks about you and the great career you had at Notre Dame is the word playmaker. Talk about what you feel you've done to achieve that kind of status in the minds of people who have watched you play and enjoyed watching you play.
Tate: I guess I can credit that to Pope John Paul, II High School and Grand Mar when I played for them. As a youngster I started off as a running back. They gave me the ball and said, "Golden run." I was always faster than the other guys on the field. I think being a running back gives you a different perspective on the field and the game. Cornerbacks typically aren't the best tacklers on the team. A lot of times I'm going against free safeties and cornerbacks, so I have the ability to make guys miss. Plus I'm really close to the ground. I have the mentality that I do not want to be tackled. Its finishing plays and working hard after you catch the ball. In my position there are thousands and thousands of receivers in high school and middle school and even in college who are there to catch balls. But for me, it more than catching balls. It's finishing the play and turning a 6 yard hitch into a 20 yard gain or even getting a first down. It's just my mentality. I don't like to be tackled. I like attempting to make the impossible, possible.
Thompson: Your dad was drafted by the Colts back in 1984. What have you been able to draw from his football experience over the years?
Tate: To be honest, my father and I don't talk about football. He's not the guy I've always gone to for questions about playing receiver. When I was younger he would be the one out there throwing the ball to me and punting it way up in the air so I could catch it. But I didn't play a lick of receiver until I got to college, so it's not like I knew that I would be playing the same position as him when I was younger. My father and I have a regular father-son relationship and we talk about things other than football. I wish we would have spoken more about football, but at the end of the day, we're two different types of players anyway. He's a 6-foot-3 guy who's probably a possession guy, and I see myself as a 5-foot-10 guy who's explosive and can make anything happen at any point.
Thompson: You're heading into the draft process with your quarterback, Jimmy Clausen. Are you guys talking much as you're preparing for this?
Tate: I talk to Jimmy every now and then. He's in L.A. handling his foot situation and trying to get as strong as possible. I'm here dealing with two-a-days at the ATI all day. When I get home I'm exhausted and kind of want to be to myself. But I've kept in touch with him and he's doing great. He's excited about the Combine and so am I.
Thompson: Who are some of the NFL receivers you admire?
Tate: Two guys come to mind. Steve Smith from the Panthers, I really respect his game and I really enjoy the way he plays it. He's a guy built like me, speed is similar, very tough. I like to think I'm a tough guy. I'm not afraid to go across the middle and I'm not afraid to go catch a ball at its high point. He's a small guy, but he plays like he's 6-foot-2 or 6-foot-3, going up to get balls. He's one of the guys I like to model my game after. The other one is Percy Harvin. During my senior year in high school I watched him when he was at Florida, and even this year. That's a guy who is very elusive and can do many things--reverses, the wildcat, get in the backfield, and he can go out wide. I honestly think I can do that. I think with the NFL now, it's evolved into more than receivers just being receivers. So, we'll see.
Thompson: Have you been able to prepare yourself for the fact that in a few short days you're going to be going door to door, plopping down with NFL head coaches for interview sessions?
Tate: Yeah, but that's the thing with Notre Dame, we have the national spotlight. A lot of people have been through the door at Notre Dame. I've been very fortunate to speak with Rocket Ishmael, Jerome Bettis, Joe Theisman, and even Reggie Wayne. So as far as who's in the room, I'm sure there will be a lot of respectable names. But, I'm just going to be myself and hopefully they'll see something in me that can help their programs.
Thompson: As you've been preparing for the Combine, has there been anything in particular that you've been focusing on?
Tate: Yeah, the 40 is is a big thing for me. I've been training for all the events, but that's one thing you might catch me staying after practice for. I'm just trying to be consistent, and I know what I'm doing now. The scouts know I can catch the ball. The scouts know I'm tough and hard to bring down. But one of the questions I'm sure they have is, "what's this guy's speed like?" I'm not the typical 6-foot-3 guy who's going to go up and get the high ball. So, that's one thing I've really focused on and hopefully I'm going to be fast!
Thompson: What makes football fun for you?
Tate: I really enjoy the lights being on--all lights on me to see if Golden is going to make this play. I really enjoy it. Some guys, when the lights come on, they shy away. That's not me at all. I enjoy the spotlight and I have fun while I'm under the spotlight. I think that's one thing that makes me love football. Also, there's no greater feeling than catching a touchdown over a defender and having 80-plus thousand people cheering you on. I don't think there's anything better than that. That's one of the things I really do appreciate about being at Notre Dame and about playing football.
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You can follow Ed Thompson on Twitter (@Ed_Thompson). A member of the Pro Football Writers of America, Ed Thompson's player interviews and NFL features are published across the Scout.com network and at FOXSports.com.