Rose Bowl Recall: Bobby Adamov

Jake Kocorowski

Jake Kocorowski

The Wisconsin Badgers return to Pasadena when they take on the No. 6 Oregon Ducks on Jan. 1 in the 106th edition of the Rose Bowl Game.

To commemorate the accomplishments of the program both past and present, presents its "Rose Bowl Recall" series. We've asked former players about either one moment or one experience that stands out from their time out west. It could be from the game itself, it could be from one of the various annual pregame festivities that take shape, or it could be from after the clock strikes zero on the scoreboard.

Be sure to check out our previous installments of the series with fullback Bradie Ewing, kicker Vitaly Pisetsky, safety Scott Nelson, offensive lineman Mark Tauscher and tight end Jake Pedersen.

In our second-to-last discussion with a former Badger, this walk-on turned team captain remembers one event just before the 1999 Rose Bowl kick off versus UCLA.

Interviews have been lightly edited for clarity.

OLB Bobby Adamov

The in-state product walked on to UW in the mid-1990s but eventually lettered from 1995-98. He emerged as a starting safety before moving to outside linebacker, and he later claimed a team captain spot on the 1998 team.

Both Adamov and middle linebacker Donnel Thompson were named captains for that 1999 Rose Bowl squad, marking an instance where two of the four honorees were walk-ons.

"It was walking out to the coin flip. [Former team captain and All-American left tackle] Chris McIntosh and I were just talking about this a couple weeks ago, and they expose you to a lot of things that are Rose Bowl-eque before the game to get you acclimated. You're on the field a number of times before the game, days before the game -- but even before pregame starts, you're down there to just get a feel of it so you're not completely shocked when you do run out there. 

"I will say when that place is full of people, and you walk down the tunnel, and it's California, the sun's out, it's awesome. The tunnel's dark, and it just happened when we were walking out that year back in '99, it was when the fighter jets were flying over, and so we hit it right at the right time. It was the crowd, the noise, the sound of the jets. It's still something that I think about, just walking out of that tunnel, walking onto the coin flip with the fellas. It's the one thing that really does stand out for me that I think back fondly on." If you had a message to give to some of the current class of players that are experiencing this for the first time, what would you tell them?

"I would tell them to win the game. You will get two questions for the rest of your life, and it's come up consistently with me. When somebody finds out that you played football, they'll ask you the years. 'Oh, when did you play? Oh they had some good teams back then.' 

And then, 'Did you go to any major bowl games,' right? So the one that you say obviously is the Rose Bowl. 

The next question is, 'Did you win?' It's two questions that live on forever. So what I would tell those kids, and they have a great team to go out there and win that game because this is one of those games that will stay with you for the rest of your life. So we were fortunate enough to win [the 1999 Rose Bowl]. The fellows that I played with were fortunate enough to win back-to-back [Rose Bowls], which is unheard of, right? 

But when you're out there, you get all dressed up. There's a lot of stuff going on for the Rose Bowl, whether you're going to the Lakers game or the [Lawry's Beef Bowl] steak dinner, or we went to drop the puck at a Kings game. There's a lot of events and the press conferences, but at the end of it, it's just a game. Coach Alvarez always did a nice job of getting us focused for the game, especially that game. I know Coach Chryst is going to do the same thing, so that would be my advice: Don't lose it. Go out there and win that game because it's a question you're going to have to answer for the rest of your life."

From Dec. 29, Wisconsin defensive coordinator Jim Leonhard on Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert, Badgers' preparation for Rose Bowl.