UA’s Tate: ‘I’ve learned a lot mentally’ as he prepares for his final season

For 10½ minutes, Khalil Tate spoke to the media on Thursday and, well, at a time when it could have been TBT (throwback Thursday) it wasn’t.

Of course, the media that covers Arizona football wanted to go back and see what happened last season, even though it was one to forget.

At times, Tate did, saying it was as frustrating for him as it was for everyone else. His ankle injury early in the season started it all, given that he had never really been hurt all his career.

Khalil Tate meets with the local media for the first time in months. (photo courtesy Matt Moreno/GoAZCats.com)

Yes, he wished things could have different, but, well it wasn’t. But as he said, “the past is the past.”
And, he doesn’t want to look back anymore.

Now is the time to get better, feel refreshed, feel like his senior year will be his best year, after all, it’s all gone by so fast.

He didn’t realize it when he was younger, but now he does.

It’s all part of growing up, which it appears he has.

“I’ve learned a lot mentally,” he said.

Or so it seemed as he met with the media for the first time in months.

He didn’t ignore one question, answering everyone the best he could and with candor. He wanted clarification on at least a couple, making sure he was answering the question that asked.

There would be no audibles. There would be no ducking. There would be no “next question.”

Of course, it’s just spring football, but Tate, Arizona’s apparent hope at a good season in the fall, handled it all, in what maybe have seemed like a blitz from the local media … but he did just fine. In fact, joking with it by saying in one reply when asked about having more confidence this time around because he’s at 100 percent again.

“When you are injured you can’t do a lot,” he said, “It’s like being a reporter and not having something to record with … you don’t have what you need. I got injured but I learned a lot mentally. I think I got stronger.”

Hmm, strong mind, strong body.

He said this spring has gone well as it should given this is his fourth one. But his mindset in his final season as a Cat “is to get better every day. That’s the main thing as a quarterback.”

He wants to push him teammates to getter also. And he’d like to lead too, something that seemed foreign a season ago when UA finished a disappointing 5-7 overall. He’s looking forward to making things better. He’ll do what he can after last year’s leaderless team.

“Having a good leader is important,” he said. “If you don’t have a good leader it makes everything tough. I definitely think being a leader helps out.”

Can he be that guy? Check back in a few months. But right now, Tate was saying all the right things.
How was last year?

“We went 5-7 so not too good,” he said.

What areas of your game do you think you need to improve?

“My leadership, working on the minor details,” he said, “like my technique … even when I’m tired.”

After what proved to be a long season, Tate said what he learned most was that “everything is mental. Before last season, everything I thought was physical because I had never been injured. I never had to deal with an injury. Me being injured help me mature.”

And, so here we are with Arizona fans hoping maturity translates into victories next season. It starts here where he’s getting competition from all his colleague quarterbacks in as much as quarterback coach Noel Mazzone said this week that no QB has an edge this spring. There will be no favorites.

“It’s all about competition,” he said. “Everybody wants to compete.”

Will he take to it?

“I would hope I would,” he said. “You have to compete with them to get better.”

Again, all the right answers.

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