At the time when Niumatalolo was reported to be a candidate for the Wildcats' job, Tate tweeted he "didn't come to Arizona to run the triple option" - the system Niumatalolo installed at Navy that rarely allows quarterbacks to throw the ball. He later deleted the post.
"I knew exactly what I was doing when I tweeted that out," Tate told Matt Hayes of Bleacher Report. "I don't do Twitter. When I tweet something, I download the app, tweet, then delete the app from my phone. So when I tweet, it's important."
Tate began the 2017 campaign on the bench, but he emerged to become one of the most electrifying players in the country, and a late-season Heisman Trophy contender.
"I had to make sure I was heard, make sure the team was heard, because my teammates didn't want to run the triple option, either," he added. "So the idea was to tweet it out, let it get traction, then delete it. I knew people reading it would say, 'Why did he delete it?' But that just magnifies it more."
Not long after his tweet, Arizona squashed any plan it may have had to offer Niumatalolo the head coaching job. The Wildcats wound up hiring former Texas A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin instead.
"I didn't want to go about the situation and then just be, 'OK, he's the new coach, I don't care.' Because I did care. We did care as a team," Tate said. "I knew tweeting that would create a buzz and maybe not get (Niumatalolo) as our coach. I think Ken Niumatalolo is a great coach. It's nothing against him. But I think it was important to say what I had to say and let everyone know that we're not just going to be quiet and let things happen. We're going to be heard."
Tate ran plenty of read-option plays under Rich Rodriguez last season, but he was still afforded ample opportunities to air the ball out. With Tate leading the way, Arizona is expected to be a contender in the Pac-12 this year.