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Exclusive interview: Golden Tate talks MSU vs. Notre Dame, Lions offense and pregame spaghetti

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We got to talk to the wide receiver about Sunday preparation, Notre Dame and the best dressed Lions

NBA: Cleveland Cavaliers at Detroit Pistons Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

We got a chance to speak with Lions wide receiver Golden Tate on Tuesday, while he was en route to make a surprise visit to the Oak Park High School football team. He spoke with us about several topics, and yes, we asked him about “Dancing with the Stars.” But he also hit us up about some little known facts about himself, like his pregame meal and who he watches Notre Dame football with.

Chris: What are you guys doing up at Oak Park today?

Golden Tate: Myself and the BODYARMOR team are going to surprise the football team, kind of just hang out, take some questions and see how we can help those guys out this year.

Chris: How are you surprising them- are you guys delivering equipment or something?

GT: Yeah, I’m going on behalf of BODYARMOR so we’re going to deliver some bottles to them, let them know how great of a product it is and how it can help them stay hydrated and increase their performance. After that, just kind of hang out and I’d assume talk some football.

Chris: We’ve been getting a lot of questions about Matthew Stafford in the huddle on that last drive, pictures of him shouting and jumping up and down; what’s that like seeing him like that? Is that a usual thing he does?

GT: It was just kind of in the moment. I think all of us show instances of being passionate about the game and the love we have for the game. He just got caught up in being a competitor. We were competing our tails of during that drive and just trying to find a way to win that ballgame. Trying to make sure we didn’t start out how we did last year.

Chris: You’ve got all these guys around you now, too, like Anquan Boldin and Marvin Jones on the team. You know, Theo Riddick, Ameer Abdullah. What kind of competition is it like with those guys there, considering everyone is getting the ball distributed around to them?

GT: It’s actually great. It takes a lot of pressure off of one single person. I think our biggest thing is if we just do our job every play, we’re going to win a lot of games. That’s how confident we are. With all of those play makers you just mentioned, we just have to be who we are consistently, be in sync every single play, all 11 of us, and then I think we can be fresh. As you saw, we ran the ball well that game, we passed the ball well that game, and a lot of the passes we had were not difficult plays, we just got the ball in our guy’s hands, and let those guys take over from there. That’s one of the unique things about our play makers, is that they can, at any given moment, they can go for 30-40 yards.

Chris: Take me through what a Sunday is for Golden Tate before the game starts. What’s your preparation? Do you have any rituals?

GT: For me, Sunday morning starts with... I try to pray every morning, and then I usually go down, usually we have a noon or 1 o’clock game, so I usually have to get up pretty early, because I usually like to get to the stadium around 4 before the game so I can really start dialing in and mentally preparing. I get up, and eat spaghetti no matter what time – sometimes it’s 6 in the morning, 7 in the morning, sometimes it’s 10 or 11 in the morning but I always eat spaghetti and I have a piece of steak and then I’m usually on my way to the stadium, get in the hot tub, get my body worked on, start loosening up and get ready for the game. That’s pretty much it.

Chris: How are you having that spaghetti, with a red sauce? With butter? Or does that change depending on the week?

GT: I usually do half pesto and half spaghetti meat sauce.

Chris: Any music you listen to? Do you have a playlist?

GT: I really don’t have a playlist. I just turn one of the Apple music radios, usually some type of hip hop or R&B and then just kind of vibe out.

Chris: Do you find time to still watch some Notre Dame games? Do you watch with any other Domers on the team like Theo Riddick?

GT: Yeah, it depends on the time. Usually on away games we’re travelling when they’re playing, but I had a chance to watch the Texas game, because we were off that night. And also watched the previous game because we got to our hotel on time. This year we haven’t, but yeah, sometime myself, TJ [Jones], Theo, Braxston Cave, we get together and watch the game and just kind of hang.

Chris: Were you getting a little from Quandre Diggs about the loss to Texas?

GT: Of course, you know Quandre, he walks into the locker room a very, very proud man. As he should be, that was a well fought game. That was a fun game to watch.

Chris: What do you think of DeShone Kizer [the current Notre Dame quarterback]?

GT: I like him. I think he’s a great pass-thrower. I think he’s proven himself. I thought he did a great job stepping in, with our guys, I think he was a freshman last year stepping in and beat some pretty big teams, as a guy who wasn’t expecting to play that year. I think that shows he’s a prepared guy. So I like him, I like the other quarterback too, Malik Zaire.

Chris: This weekend is Notre Dame and Michigan State, and I always remember one of the biggest things from you at Notre Dame, one of my enduring memories there was you catching that Jimmy Clausen touchdown and jumping into the Michigan State band, do you still have memories of that and how are you feeling about this weekend?

GT: I think it’s a great matchup. I think it’s going to be a great game for us. It’s kind of fun playing in Michigan and also having all of the Wolverine fans and the Sparty fans but you know this Domer right here is going to stand high and proud. I’m excited for the game. I can’t wait to watch it. There’s going to be a lot of smack talk between folks in Michigan and myself, but we’ll see.

I have some pretty good memories of playing Michigan State. I thought that I always played a pretty solid game against them. I always scored a bunch of touchdowns over my career against Michigan State. So I like Michigan State, they helped me get drafted.

Chris: You’re always dressing up pretty well. You’re part now of the Jordan brand and I know Eric Ebron is doing a lot of stuff with New Era and he was just modeling some of the Color Rush jerseys. Do you see any other Lions who have a good sense of fashion about them?

GT: Yeah we have a bunch of guys who dress clean. Glover Quin, he dresses pretty sharp. I think Ameer looked nice this weekend. Sam Martin usually comes pretty nice and crisp.

Chris: Sam Martin? The punter?

GT: Yeah, Sam Martin. He’s got a nice clean look to him. Tahir Whitehead does a pretty good job. Ziggy comes dressed differently. He’s usually dressed like in some — I don’t know what they call what he wears in his country — but it’s usually something that looks like his heritage which is always cool, shows a little of his personality that he’s confident enough to wear his style over in his country in America. So I actually admire that.

Chris: If it came down between you and Eric Ebron who do you think could put together the better fit?

GT: Well, obviously I’m going to say myself. I’ve got confidence in myself. He does dress sharp, I’ll give him that, but I have confidence in myself and my style.

Chris: Do you feel like you have to compete against what he puts on sometimes?

GT: Eric’s definitely a confident person and so am I, but I don’t dress up to compete against anyone, I just dress up because I think it looks nice. I think it’s something I like to wear. I don’t think about competing with guys when I put on my clothes.

Chris: What fan base has given you the most lip?

GT: I usually have tunnel vision when I’m playing and I don’t really even notice any of the outsider stuff going on so I really don’t know. I just know that we have some really passionate fans here in Detroit that I absolutely love and they bring it every week.

Chris: I’d be remiss without asking you... Did you watch Dancing with the Stars this week?

GT: Yeah, we had a Victory Monday little get together, some of my teammates and I. They came over and we watched the MNF game but we also watched Calvin dance last night and we had fun watching that.

Chris: What did you think of his performance?

GT: I thought he did a good job. I thought he did a good job. I love watching him on that stage doing that. I think he’s showing his personality and you the guy’s got a big smile and he even dances with passion, so that’s cool.

Chris: What’s your favorite TV show out there? What show do you have to watch, or must record if it’s on while you’re practicing or on the football field?

GT: Right now I would definitely say “Power.” “Power” is kind of my go-to show right now. “Ray Donovan” is another top one for me.

Thanks again to Golden Tate for letting us pick his mind, and thanks to BODYARMOR for letting us get a chance to speak with him.