Dan Scott Blog Extra: Edwards' Big Day Can Be Lesson For Harper


by - Correspondent -
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Cullen Harper, meet Armanti Edwards.

You two sit a while. Get to know each other. And then, Cullen, take as much information as you can away from Edwards' just-completed trip to Ann-Arbor.

Yeah, I know, Edwards is already a championship quarterback at the I-AA level. He has plenty of college football snaps under his belt.

But Edwards had never faced a situation like he did Saturday, when his App. State Mountaineers shocked the college football world by beating No. 5 Michigan. At the Big House. On the first-ever broadcast of the new Big 10 Network.

Nice call on that matchup, fellas.

Anyway, back to my point (fleeting as it may be). There is plenty that Harper - who will be making his first career start Monday night - can learn from Edwards' performance on Saturday.

Things like play loose and cocky from the get-go. Yes, Harper has the advantage of playing at home - something Edwards didn't - and that will help. But nerves are nerves, and Harper will have more than his share of butterflies prior to kickoff.

So when the coaches call your number, have at it. Don't over-think. Just read and react. Just like Edwards did in the first half Saturday, when he was 7-for-7 passing with three touchdown passes. Edwards and App. State were rolling, and Michigan was stunned.

Also, if you get the chance, check out what happened to Edwards in the second half.

As the game wore on and the Mountaineers kept the lead, it suddenly seemed to dawn on Edwards where he was and what he - and his team - were doing. Suddenly he wasn't as free-wheeling. Suddenly he was trying to be too accurate, rather than just firing away.

Suddenly, he and his team were no longer playing to win. They were playing not to lose. Only when Michigan finally regained the lead was the pressure off. The Mountaineers were underdogs again, and it was in that role that Edwards and Co. flourished.

So, Cullen, if you look up late in the third quarter Monday and your Tigers are ahead, don't sweat it. Just keep doing what got you the lead.

Playing smart and carefully is one thing. Playing passively is another.

Playing passively will get you beat.

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