Past Participants

Familiar faces are starting to crash the ATL, among them former West Virginia offensive tackle Calvin Edwards – who lobbied the Mountaineers for a ticket and a shot at talking to the team.

Edwards, who wore No. 76, lettered at WVU from 1992-94 and was a reserve in the Mountaineers' last Sugar Bowl – in New Orleans against Florida on Jan. 1, 1994. He watched a practice five minutes from his house in Atlanta and talked about his past, his future and his thoughts on his alma mater's chances and preferred mindset against No. 7 Georgia.

"I think for us, we had a poor approach," Edwards said. "We were just happy to be undefeated. That was the end goal. We went down there and just had fun. It wasn't as professional, as business-like as it should have been. We really missed a chance."

The then-11-0 Mountaineers, No. 3 in the Bowl Coaltion, were whacked, 41-7, despite scoring first. Afterward, Florida running back Eric Rhett said WVU was "on the level of Vanderbilt, with all due respect to Vanderbilt."

If West Virginia doesn't want a comparison to the SEC cellar-dwellar again, it needs a renewed focus. Edwards said he wouldn't mind providing that with a pre-game talk.

"I would like to address the team," Edwards said. "Not right before or anything, but just sometime. I want to tell them not to let this chance slip away. I remember Florida predicted a low-scoring game from us because I think they knew, from being around us, that we were just happy to be there.

"We were not used to going to those kinds of bowl games. (Florida) had been there the year before. This team could be the same way, and I want them to know that they need to really try for this. They have a chance to do something big for West Virginia."

Edwards, 33, should be as convincing as anybody. The 1996 WVU grad (Edwards left in 1994 for a chance at the NFL) started law school at West Virginia in the fall of 1997. He now has his law degree and owns a firm in Atlanta and is engaged. He started his college career at Wake Forest.

"It's amazing how fast time goes," he said. "Guys like Steve Redd, Derrick Bell, Steve Perkins, Maurice Richardson, we don't talk a lot anymore. I'd like to be a part of it again. Hopefully I can get a ticket. Maybe I'll hit up WVU."


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