Super Bowl LIII: McVay's college coach recalls clashes with quarterback Edelman

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Sean McVay and Julian Edelman will be two of the key protagonists in Super Bowl LIII, just as they were when their college teams Miami and Kent State met over a decade ago.

McVay, 33, is bidding to lead the Los Angeles Rams to glory and become the youngest head coach to lift the Lombardi Trophy, while New England Patriots wide receiver Edelman, only four months his junior, is seeking a third Super Bowl ring.

Few who knew the duo in 2006 could have envisaged their careers would follow the paths they did.

Back then McVay was a college wide receiver for the Miami RedHawks and Edelman was the quarterback of Mid-American Conference rivals Kent State Golden Flashes.

Edelman's 305 all-purpose yards helped the Golden Flashes beat the RedHawks 16-14 in 2006, despite McVay's 47 receiving yards, but the following year Shane Montgomery's side exacted revenge in a 20-13 success.

"Julian was a tremendous player," Montgomery told Omnisport.

"In today's football you hear a lot about the dual-threat quarterbacks and he was truly one of the first.

"He wasn't a great passer but he was good enough to hurt you, and obviously with his ability to run the football...

"In 2007 we were able to beat them at Kent State but it was a back-and-forth game. They were driving to tie the game with less than a minute left and it was something like fourth-and-goal at the 20-yard line.

"You're feeling good about it because they have to score. He dropped back to pass and nobody was open so he took off running. Somehow we knocked him out at the one-yard line. He just kept going and going!"

McVay had three catches for 37 yards that day but had already graduated when Montgomery's side faced Edelman one final time in 2008.

This time Miami were routed - the Golden Flashes winning 54-21 - as Edelman ran for 158 yards and threw for another 107.

"He just killed us," Montgomery noted.

Edelman is still 'killing' NFL teams, though it is as a recipient of Tom Brady's passes these days after the Pats selected the converted wide receiver in the seventh round of the 2009 draft.

He prepared for that transition by working out at Akron, where Montgomery had moved to after leaving Miami.

"He was out there working every day on his routes," Montgomery explained. "I'm not surprised with the success he's had, just knowing what kind of player and competitor he is."

McVay was already on the coaching ladder at that point having taken an entry-level position with Jon Gruden's Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2008.

A meteoric rise followed as he became the NFL's youngest ever head coach when the Rams hired him in 2017, not that a future in coaching was always evident to Montgomery.

"He came in and met with me and talked about how he was going to graduate and try to start a coaching career," Montgomery recalled.

"He had talked about it but I wasn't sure how serious he was. He sounded like he had his future mapped out. I realised that that was the next step he wanted to take.

"It's hard to fathom that it would happen that fast but he's such a smart guy. He got around some good people that were able to bring him along quickly."

Some of those McVay brought on board himself and Montgomery believes the appointment of coaches like 71-year-old Rams defensive coordinator Wade Phillips have been crucial.

"When you are a young guy like that, sometimes I think you can be insecure and not want to surround yourself with people with a lot of experience," Montgomery said.

"He was smart enough to know he needs to surround himself with as much experience as he could get."

But when it comes to experience of facing Edelman, McVay knows better than most.