Iowa and Iowa State both enter the football season with experienced quarterbacks and that has helped add to the expectation level for both programs. Drew Tate has been tabbed as the pre-season Big Ten Conference player of the year after leading the Hawkeyes to a share of the Big Ten title and his 56 yard touchdown pass to Warren Holloway beat LSU on the final play of the Capitol One Bowl. “I think everyone on this team has probably forgotten about (that pass) and moved on,” Tate says. “We’re just worried about what we can do right now.” Tate says with a year under his belt, he is trying to focus on details. “Last year at this time, you know, I didn’t have a grasp of the offense like I do now,” he says. An experienced offensive line should help boost a ground game which ranked last in the country in 2004. Brian Ferentz moves back to center and Mike Elgin goes back to guard. Tate says that helps out in communication between himself and the line. Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz says the added experience will help Tate make better decisions. “I think he’s very aware of the things he can do better,” Ferentz says. “You could that with a guy who has some ability and a great, competitive nature — we really think great things can happen for him.” Ferentz says while they always want to limit mistakes, they also want Tate to make big plays. Ferentz says Tate is “like a good pitcher who thinks he can get it by anybody.” After a season of swapping out quarterbacks, Iowa State coach Dan McCarney says Bret Meyer’s performance in 2004 has won him the job for the upcoming season. Meyer had the nation’s 12th-best turn-over ratio as a freshman quarterback, and McCarney says he’s got presence, personality and doesn’t flinch in a tight spot. “I just see all those things from an intangible standpoint that you’re looking for,” McCarney says. “…I think he’s pretty special and the Iowa State fans have got to feel great about having him here for the next three years.” Meyer expects to throw more passes this season, but he says the goal is to throw when they want to, not because they have to. Wide receiver Todd Blythe hopes to catch a lot of Meyer’s passes. He says everyone’s “more confident and more comfortable” entering their second year under offensive coordinator Barney Cotton’s system. “We’ve got a lot of playmakers,” he says. Meyer, though, won’t be making many plays in practices this month. McCarney is putting the wraps on his starting quarterback. The Cyclones open September 3rd against Illinois State. The Hawkeyes will be at home September third against Ball State.
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