Skyhawk Football | Fred Tate - Assistant Head Coach/Co-Defensive Coordinator
Fred Tate enters his first season as assistant head coach and co-defensive coordinator at UT Martin.
Before UT Martin, Tate spent three season as defensive line coach at Cal and helped guided the development of several student-athletes that played a key role on the team’s defensive over that period (2014-16) most notably 2016 Defensive Team MVP James Looney and Kyle Kragen during his breakout campaign as a 2015 senior.
Looney was also a third-team All-Pac-12 selection by Phil Steele and an honorable mention All-Pac-12 choice after starting all 12 games at defensive tackle and compiling 54 tackles, 8.0 tackles for loss (-38 yards), 3.5 sacks (-22 yards), two quarterback hurries, one fumble recovery that he returned 25 yards at USC for the team’s lone fumble return of the campaign and one forced fumble.
Kragen capped his collegiate career with a huge senior season as he led Cal with career highs in tackles for loss (8.0, -43 yards), sacks (7.0, -36 yards) and quarterback hurries (6) while sharing the team lead with his first two career forced fumbles and adding his first career fumble recovery. In addition to being an honorable mention All-Pac-12 choice of the league's coaches, Kragen earned third-team All-Pac-12 honors from Phil Steele and was also added to the midseason watch list for the Ted Hendricks Award honoring the nation’s top defensive end. Kragen signed an undrafted free agent contract with the Denver Broncos after his final collegiate campaign.
Cal’s defense had several big moments in 2016 most notably a goal-line stand on the final series of the game against No. 18/18 Utah that propelled the Bears to a 28-23 victory over the Utes. Utah had first- and-goal from the two-yard line and were turned back three times with Looney stopping Zack Moss just inches short of the goal-line on the final play to set off a wild celebration in Berkeley. Cal's defense had also stopped Utah on downs in the red zone earlier in the fourth quarter with Looney and fellow defensive tackle Tony Mekari making the final stop.
Cal played arguably its best game of the season on defense in a 36-10 win over UCLA in the season finale, marking the first time Cal held an opponent to 10 points or fewer since a 23-6 win over Oregon State. Cal pitched a first-half shutout to mark against the Bruins for its first scoreless half since the 2015 season-opener against Grambling State and first against a Pac-12 team since Washington State in 2011. Cal held UCLA to 260 total yards in the contest.
In 2015, much of Cal's success was because the Bears' defense continued to improve at a rapid rate, allowing 15.8 points fewer than in the season before Tate's arrival. Cal was one of the nation's top teams in categories related to caused turnovers in 2015 as the Bears finished the campaign tied for 11th nationally in fumbles recovered (12), tied for 13th in turnovers gained (27), tied for 23rd in passes intercepted (15) and tied for 25th in defensive touchdowns (3). Cal tied for first in the Pac-12 in fumbles recovered, tied for second in turnovers gained and passes intercepted, and tied for fourth in defensive touchdowns. All of the 2015 numbers and rankings were improvements from the previous season.
Cal also put up significantly better numbers in 2015 from the previous season in sacks (2015 – 28, 2.15 spg; 2014 – 1.33 spg), team passing efficiency defense (2015 – 135.49; 2014 – 154.54), tackles for loss (2015 – 62.0, 5.2 tflpg; 2014 – 55.0, 4.6 tflpg), total defense (2015 – 453.7; 2014 – 511.8) and scoring defense (30.7 ppg, 39.8 ppg).
Cal’s 2015 defense played a major role in the team’s 8-5 record that marked its first eight-win season since the 2009 team was also 8-5 with only 29 teams since the beginning of Cal football in 1882-83 winning eight or more and only 17 either nine or 10. Cal capped its 2015 season with its first bowl victory since 2008 in the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl with the spot in postseason play its first since 2011.
Several Cal also players had their best collegiate seasons under Tate in his first season at Cal in 2014 most notably defensive tackles Mustafa Jalil and Austin Clark, who were major factors in the team’s one- year improvement of 48 spots and 44 yards per game in rush defense to No. 38 nationally (144.6 ypg). Jalil was one of only two defensive players to start all 12 games in 2014 and registered career highs with 35 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss (-12 yards), 1.5 sacks (-8 yards) and two quarterback hurries which were the first of his collegiate career. He even became the first Cal player to be credited with individual points on a safety (rule change in 2014) when he tackled USC running back Justin Davis in the end zone of a game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
A previously often-injured Clark earned honorable mention All-Pac-12 honors as a sixth-year senior in his only campaign under Tate in 2014 as he played in 11 games with 10 starts and contributed 22 of his 23 career tackles, as well as his lone 1.0 tackle for loss (-1 yard) and one quarterback hurry. Clark also earned Cal’s Joe Roth Award given to the player who best exemplifies courage, sportsmanship and attitude.
Prior to his arrival at Cal he spent the 2013 season as the defensive tackles coach for a Cincinnati team that finished 9-4 overall and played in the Belk Bowl. Cincinnati’s 2013 defense was one of the best in the country, ranking in the top 10 nationally in both rushing defense (6th, 104.5 ypg) and total defense (9th, 315.6 ypg). Cincinnati was also among the top 30 in 10 of the 11 primary defensive categories tracked in the national stats, including 14th in scoring defense (21.0 ppg), third-down conversion percentage defense (33.1%) and first downs defense (230); 23rd in sacks (2.69 spg) and red-zone defense (76.5%); 25th in team passing efficiency defense (116.75); 26th in tackles for loss (6.80 tflpg); and 29th in passing yards allowed (211.2 ypg).
Cincinnati defensive lineman Jordan Stepp earned first-team All-American Athletic Conference honors in the inaugural season of the league while fellow defensive lineman Silverberry Mouhon was a second- team selection. Mouhon (9.5) and Stepp (6.0) were first and second on the club in sacks, with Mouhon ranking third in the league in sacks per game (0.73 spg).
Tate was the defensive line coach at Texas Tech in 2012, inheriting a 2011 unit that ranked 114th nationally in total defense (485.58 ypg) and improving them to 38th (367.31 ypg) while ranking second in the Big 12 Conference. Texas Tech was keyed by a pass defense that led the league and ranked 15th in the country (192.00 ypg). The Red Raiders finished 8-5 overall and were victorious over Minnesota at the Meineke Car Care Bowl.
Defensive lineman Kerry Hyder was a second-team All-Big 12 selection in 2012, leading the team with 14.0 tackles for loss, co-leading the squad with 6.0 sacks and ranking third on the club with 56 tackles. He tallied 10.5 tackles for loss during Big 12 play to rank third in the league. He is now a member of the Detroit Lions after spending most of the 2015 season on their practice squad and the 2014 campaign on the practice squad of the New York Jets.
Tate has also been on coaching staffs at Marshall (2010-11), Tennessee-Chattanooga (2008-09), Southern Miss (2005-06), Middle Tennessee (2002), Southwest Texas State (2001), East Mississippi Community College (2000), Jacksonville State (1998-99) and East Central Community College (1997).
Marshall was victorious in the Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl over Florida International in Tate’s final season with the Thundering Herd in 2011 when he coached the defensive line for a defense that ranked first in Conference USA and fifth nationally with an average of 7.85 tackles for loss per game. Marshall’s defense was also among the nation’s top 20 in fumbles recovered (T14th, 15), fourth-down efficiency (19th, 38.89%) and turnovers gained (T19th, 29), while defensive end Vinny Curry was a first-team All- American and the 2011 Conference USA Defensive Player of the Year as well as a first-team all-league choice. Curry capped his career in his second season under Tate in 2011 with huge numbers when he recorded 77 tackles, 22.0 tackles for loss (-110 yards) and 11.0 sacks (-69 yards). His per-game totals for tackles for loss (1.69 tflpg) and sacks (.85 spg) both ranked second in the league as well as fourth and tied for seventh nationally. Curry was selected in the second round of the 2012 NFL Draft by the Philadelphia Eagles and is in his fifth season with the club in 2016 after signing a five-year deal worth up to $47.5 million with $23 million guaranteed in February of 2016.
In his first season with the Thundering Herd in 2010, Tate coached the safeties and saw two of his pupils, Donald Brown and Omar Brown, earn honorable mention All-Conference USA selections. Omar Brown played in the NFL for two seasons with the Baltimore Ravens in 2012 and 2013 with the 2012 club going on to win Super Bowl XLVII.
During his two campaigns at Tennessee-Chattanooga, Tate mentored 2009 third-team AP All-American, Southern Conference Defensive Player of the Year and first-team All-Southern Conference selection Josh Beard, who tied for the national lead in the Football College Subdivision (FCS) and equaled a school record with 12.0 sacks.
Tate coached on bowl staffs during each of his two seasons at Southern Miss with the Golden Eagles finishing with winning records each campaign. Southern Miss was 7-5 in 2005 and defeated Arkansas State in the New Orleans Bowl with defensive lineman Tom Johnson earning first-team All-Conference USA honors. USM finished 9-5 in 2006 and claimed the Conference USA East Division title, played Houston in the Conference USA Championship Game and defeated Ohio University in the GMAC Bowl.
Prior to his two seasons as an outside linebackers and special teams coach at East Carolina from 2003- 04, Tate served as the defensive line coach at Middle Tennessee in 2002 and Southwest Texas State in 2001, where he guided Clenton Ballard to first-team All-American status. Ballard spent time on NFL rosters with the Jacksonville Jaguars (2002) and San Diego Chargers (2004).
Tate’s coaching career began in 1997 at East Central Community College in Mississippi where he coached tight ends and wide receivers. He moved to Jacksonville State in 1998 and served as the defensive line and special teams coach for two seasons with his 1998 squad posting a 7-4 overall record. While with the Gamecocks, he mentored future NFL player Mark Word, who spent time with the Kansas City Chiefs (1999) and Cleveland Browns (2001-03). The 2000 season saw Tate return to the junior college level, coaching the defensive line, and punting and kicking teams at East Mississippi Community College.
A native of Hattiesburg, Miss., Tate served in the United States Army enlisted in the United States Army and was a member of the elite airborne unit stationed at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
Following his military service, Tate started his collegiate football career with two seasons at East Central Community College, where he was a JC Gridwire All-American selection as a 1994 sophomore and voted the Most Valuable Offensive Player of the National Junior College All-Star Game.
He continued his playing career at Southern Mississippi, where he was a defensive lineman in 1995 and 1996 for a Golden Eagles’ team that was a charter member of Conference USA and won the league’s first football championship with a 4-1 conference mark in his second and final season while finishing with an 8-3 overall record that included a victory over Georgia and a seven-game winning streak. Tate earned his bachelor’s degree in human performance from Southern Miss in 1997.
Fred Tate File
Birthdate: October 31, 1968
Hometown: Hattiesburg, MS
High School: North Forrest HS
College: Southern Miss, 1997, Bachelor's in Human Performance
Season: School – Position
1997: East Central Community College – Tight Ends/Wide Receivers
1998: Jacksonville State – Defensive Line/Special Teams
1999: Jacksonville State – Defensive Line/Special Teams
2000: East Mississippi Community College – Defensive Line/Punting and Kicking
2001: Southwest Texas State – Defensive Line
2002: Middle Tennessee – Defensive Line
2003: East Carolina – Defensive Line
2004: East Carolina – Defensive Line
2005: Southern Miss – Defensive Tackles/Outside Linebackers
2006: Southern Miss – Defensive Tackles/Outside Linebackers
2008: Tennessee-Chattanooga – Defensive Line
2009: Tennessee-Chattanooga – Defensive Line
2010: Marshall – Safeties
2011: Marshall – Defensive Line
2012: Texas Tech – Defensive Line
2013: Cincinnati – Defensive Tackles
2014: Cal – Defensive Line
2015: Cal – Defensive Line
2016: Cal – Defensive Line
Bowl History (6 Games)
*Season: Team – Bowl
2005: Southern Miss – New Orleans Bowl
2006: Southern Miss – GMAC Bowl
2011: Marshall – Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl
2012: Texas Tech – Meineke Car Care Bowl
2013: Cincinnati – Belk Bowl
2015: Cal – Armed Forces Bowl
*Season in which bowl game was played
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