Arizona State claims one Rose Bowl victory in its history. The school has never won a national championship. As the Sun Devils opened spring practice on Tuesday, second-year head coach Todd Graham spoke of making history.
"I talked to these guys and told them it's the 100th anniversary of the Rose Bowl. That's where the national championship game is at, and I told them I grew up watching the Rose Bowl on a 13-inch black and white TV in Dallas, Texas listening to Keith Jackson. I said every day that's how we've got to work. Did we work harder than the other 11 teams in the league?"
"The biggest thing for us is to look forward. We did not have a great season (in 2012), we had a little above average season. We've got to be hungry. We've got to win six more ball games to win 14 games. We've got to win five more games to win the conference championship. We've got to win one more game past that to win the Rose Bowl. That's what I want our standard to be and our expectation to be."
According to sophomore defensive tackle Jaxon Hood, Graham's message has sunk in inside the locker room. And in the meeting rooms, training room, weight room and classroom.
“We’ve been talking about the Rose Bowl for so long, I don’t remember when it was first brought up," Hood told the Arizona Republic. “I hear ‘Rose Bowl’ in my sleep. I don’t remember the last time I didn’t hear about Rose Bowls.
“Since I stepped foot on this campus, I haven’t heard ‘Fear the Fork,’ I haven’t heard ‘Sparky.’ I’ve heard Rose Bowl more than any other word on this campus. And that’s the truth. … That’s all we talk about, and that’s what we’re about to go get.”
With their goals clearly understood, Graham now begins the work of teaching his team how to reach them.
"Every single rep you've got to be inspired. There's only one group of people that can keep us from accomplishing our goals and that's you."