MADISON (WKOW) -- The Rose Bowl has become almost routine for the Badgers, who are making their third straight trip to Pasadena. It isn't enough for them just to get to the Rose Bowl; they want to win a Rose Bowl.
So interim coach Barry Alvarez did something a little different this year to try to get the team to focus on doing whatever it takes to beat Stanford.
Alvarez gave his assistant coaches red and white wristbands with the message, "I'm In & I'm On" to remind them of their mission. The players had to earn their wristbands over the last few weeks.
"When your assistant thought you were embracing that statement, that you were focused on game the and willing to give all of yourself to win the game, you received a band," junior captain Travis Frederick said. "I believe everyone has one now. It shows this team has grown throughout this bowl prep and we've taken that step together."
These players have watched their head coach leave the program and 6 other assistants announced their plans to leave Wisconsin after the Rose Bowl. That's a bit of a distraction, and Alvarez wanted them to focus solely on winning the Rose Bowl.
"It's easy for everybody to say, 'Oh, they're going to Rose Bowl again,' but there's a lot that's occurred and they needed to be all in," offensive coordinator Matt Canada said. "We're saying, 'Let's go play our best and give it one more shot together.' This is all about the players and nobody else really matters and that's the message Coach wanted to send to our kids."
"It's saying, 'I'm a little piece of the puzzle. I'm in and I'm going to be on. I'm going to bring my best game and do my best to win," senior captain Montee Ball said.
One guy who can officially say "I'm in" is freshman quarterback Joel Stave, who is coming off a broken collar bone but found out on Thursday he's been cleared to play in the Rose Bowl. However, it wasn't his coach or any doctor who told him; 27 Sports actually broke the news to Stave when we asked him about it.
Stave says he's worked hard to put himself back in the mix for the Rose Bowl and was grinning from ear to ear when he found out he's available to play. Alvarez told the media he would find a way to use Stave if he is healthy, which all but ensures a two-quarterback game plan for Wisconsin.
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