On best memories from 1993:
I happened to see that team on Classics the other day. I caught the last minute and a half of the game and I got goose bumps. I remember that whole Rose Bowl experience but more so I remember clinching the title in Tokyo. It was just an unbelievable feeling; couldn't believe it had happened.
On expectations at Rose Bowl:
Well, when you got that far than you expect it.
That was a special group of kids. Most of them we recruited our first year. I didn't get the job until Jan. 3, and by Jan. 3 now we are finished recruiting. We signed about 30 guys and the majority of those guys panned out to be really good players. A number of them played in the NFL and a number were All-Big Ten. They were the ones who turned around the program by winning the Rose Bowl.
They really showed it. They won on the road. They made plays. As a coach you always think in your head, ‘if we don't get this first down, then we'll have to punt.' You are always anticipating, but we always made the play. It took a lot of questions away from what we had to do.
On what was impressive from the '93 team:
We had a lot of weapons. We could run the ball, we could throw the ball. Defensively we were adequate.
But we had good leadership. Joe Panos really gave all the other guys the confidence. He said, ‘Why shouldn't we win it, why does it have to be some other guys? We have enough talent.' He brought that from the start.
Most of them had played with us as freshmen and sophomores. It was really a junior team. We really should have been in a Bowl the year before.
On what it means to Wisconsin's program:
Our '93 team came back for a reunion during the spring. Some of my guys were seven years old that year, they have no idea who they were. We have been able to maintain things, we have won two Rose Bowls since then. So that doesn't carry much water when we tee it up and play this year.
What it did was allow our players to believe that they could win and that they could be champions. I think that is very difficult. There are a lot of mental barriers that athletes go through and put restrictions on themselves. There are times when teams take the field playing against a traditional power and don't think they can win and just a little bit of doubt allows someone else to make the play or allows you to be hesitant, and you lose.
Those kids had a determination and they won. That took the monkey off the back. You have been a champion. You are a champion. I don't have to sell that as a pipe dream. I don't have to sell it as blue sky. My guys know that if they follow our plan and do what is expected of them, they can win a championship.
Previous editions of '93 revisited