Auburn is honoring its 1993 undefeated team Saturday during its 2013 season opener again Washington State. Terry Bowden got an invitation just like everybody else. He can’t make it. But he has a great attitude about it, great enough to answer our questions on a busy Friday afternoon the day after his Akron Zips got rocked by UCF, 38-7.
Did Auburn invite you to join the team for tomorrow’s festivities?
Bowden: “They sure did. It’s a shame I can’t make it. It was a great honor. I received a letter of invitation. I hate that I couldn’t come. We just lost our first game so the last thing Akron fans want to see is me down there cheering for Auburn. We’ve got practice tomorrow. But I was honored to be asked to come back. Those guys are very special.”
Do you still keep up with some of the players from the 1993 team?
Bowden: “Quite a bit. Much more now that I’ve gotten back in coaching.”
So tell me about “AttitUde”—was that your brainchild?
Bowden: “You know good and well that became a very big motivational angle back in those days, with Charles Swindoll and all the positive attitude stuff… Norman Vincent Peale and Robert Schuller and all those books I used to read. But ‘AttitUde just seemed like the right thing at that time. Auburn was coming off two losing season and three straight losses to Bama. We were heading for serious probation. It was like, we’ve got to start thinking positive, good things. Wwe’ve got to have a change, believing that good things will happen, not bad. So we made that our slogan—to ignore the negative and not focus on what we couldn’t couldn’t control and just be the best team we could be one game at a time. They made those lapel pins. I still have mine, too. Everybody started to buy in. We made about 150 of them for the players and they ended up selling 80,000 of them.”
At what point during the season did you think Auburn could run the table?
Bowden: No question, it was the Florida game at home. We were 5-0 I think and nobody we played in the first five games was really ranked. Auburn wasn’t ranked. We beat Ole Miss, Southern Miss, a couple of others. And then Florida came in and was No. 6 or No. 4, I think. I knew they were going to be as tough as anybody on our schedule. We weren’t thinking we were special up to that time because there hadn’t been much success the two years before. We were just trying for one more win than the year before. But no question, the Florida win was the point we all looked each other and said ‘we might have something.'”
Is there one play that stands out as the most important of the season?
Bowden: No question, that James Bostic touchdown run against Alabama. That game was on the wire. It could have gone either way. I think all they had to do was kick a field goal to win. It was late in the 4th quarter and I think Mike Proctor was their kicker. We just ran an isolation play. Tony Richardson threw a great block. That iced it. It was one of the great plays.
So… any advice for Gus Malzahn as a first year Auburn coach?
Bowden: Oh, he’s got plenty of experience. He knows how to be a head coach. He’ll cherish his time there. He has a great staff—when I saw who he’d hired I thought ‘that’s a great staff.’ I had a great staff, a bunch of young guys who are well-known coaches. We probably didn’t know how good a staff it was at the time.
Birmingham News photo: Joe Songer
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