By John Helsley
Alex Cate has new life.
Late life, but new life.
Cate, the former Cowboys backup, has enrolled at Central Washington in hopes of seizing the starting quarterback job for his senior season.
Once a touted recruit, pulled away from LSU in what seemed like a recruiting coup, Cate never became a legitimate candidate to lead the Cowboys. In his one shot at starting, subbing for the injured Zac Robinson against Colorado last season, Cate struggled miserably, going 0-for-9 with an interception in the first half, drawing boos from the Boone Pickens Stadium crowd.
That led to a second-half switch to Brandon Weeden, a switch that carried future implications as well.
Cate announced his intention to transfer after the season and now hopes to make the most of a fresh start with the Wildcats, a Division II program, allowing him to be eligible immediately.
In an interview with the Daily Record in Ellensburg, Wash., Cate offered no ill will toward his time at OSU, instead focusing on the opportunity to work with CWU head coach Blaine Bennett, who has tutored NFL quarterbacks in Kyle Orton and Curtis Painter.
“It came down to a chance to play, pretty much,” Cate told the newspaper. “I’ve been a backup for four years. I had a chance to compete for the starting job this year, but realistically I knew it would be kind of iffy. I have nothing against Oklahoma State, this is just a better situation.”
Impressions of Cate at OSU revealed a classy kid. But they also hinted of a guy who seemed more than comfortable in a backup role, lacking a real fire to be “the guy.” Maybe that was just life with Zac Robinson in charge.
Maybe things will be different now.
That’s the chance for the fifth-year senior. A late chance, but a chance.