TCU and Wisconsin held their first press conferences leading up to the Rose Bowl Tuesday morning. Linebacker Tank Carder, defensive end Wayne Daniels, tackle Cory Grant, free safety Tejay Johnson, and strong safety Colin Jones spoke to the media on behalf of the Horned Frog defense.
They were also asked about differences in this week's schedule compared to last year's Fiesta Bowl preparations.
TEJAY JOHNSON: For starters, the whole attitude of the coaching staff, you know, practices are really intense, you know. And just from a player's standpoint, everybody is a little more cognizant of what they're doing and the habits that they're keeping throughout the week.
COLIN JONES: Everybody seems really focused, and practice is the No. 1 priority, and to win the game is also the No. 1 priority, so I just see everybody working hard to get that done.
The players were also asked if they had ever anticipated playing in the Rose Bowl and the team being in their current position when they enrolled at TCU.
TEJAY JOHNSON: It's not anything I thought about when I was a freshman, but when the opportunity came and we were selected for the Rose Bowl, it was really exciting news and experience.
COLIN JONES: Yeah. It really is pretty cool, especially going to visit yesterday. It doesn't get much better than that.
WAYNE DANIELS: No. No, when I first got to TCU, we came when we were barely getting – I could say 20,000. The most when I was a freshman, the most I ever seen our stadium packed was when we played Tech. So to come from there to where we are now I think is a huge accomplishment not only for the football team but for the University.
They were also asked if they could detect any difference in the grass at the Rose Bowl:
TEJAY JOHNSON: Yeah, it looked a little different, a little greener. But I don't know, I couldn't feel any real difference because I didn't have cleats on. But it definitely looked different.
COLIN JONES: It did. It looked like a prime fairway.
Johnson was also asked if he had a favorite memory from previous Rose Bowls he's seen:
I'd probably say Vince Young's run-in for the National Championship.
Tank Carder was asked if he had any concerns about the defense rebounding after Daryl Washington and first-round pick Jerry Hughes graduated and went on to the NFL:
No. Tanner Brock was coming up. Wayne was coming to D. I felt like we were only going to get better. That's just how a team does. You can't look back to the guys that are leaving. You can't do anything about the guys that leave. You just have to build a new team with the guys that you have.
Cory Grant was asked if the Badgers remind him of any of TCU's prior opponents:
I'll give you two teams. As far as the way they come off the ball and how they power block, Air Force, because they come off just like Air Force does. And size-wise it would have to be BYU. Those are the only guys that really match up across the board to their height and to their size. But Air Force, of course, you know how their triple option, they always just dive in and they're always just double-teaming the whole game, just as the Wisconsin offense is. As far as power football, I'll give them Air Force, but as far as size-wise, I'll give them BYU.
Wayne Daniels, a native of Oakland, Calif., was asked if he has a different perspective on the Rose Bowl than his teammates:
No, not – when I first started playing football I didn't really – when I lived in California I didn't watch football, I just wanted to play basketball like everybody else. But when I moved to Texas I started playing football, and then I started watching. Yeah, I feel like this is going to be a lot of fun.
Daniels was also asked if entering the Rose Bowl undefeated affects the team's mindset:
Undefeated, I mean, it's a great accomplishment for all of us. I think as a team we all think about it a little bit. But I would say we're into a one game season now. We're 0 and 0.