Not like the regular pair of clowns who sneak into a Georgia practice between the hedges, Scott Howard and Eric Zeier had a mission to accomplish. They did their best to keep a low profile. Their task: to get ready to replace Larry Munson for Georgia’s contests on the road this year and to keep it quiet.
“We didn’t even have any windows open,” said Howard of just how discrete they were trying to keep their rendezvous on the side of the press box.
That must have been hot – but no more so than getting in front of a live mic as play-by-play man for the first time ever.
Windows opened or not – Howard was the right and logical choice to take over for the ailing Munson. There were others who could have taken the play-by-play duties for the fall, but none of them have the qualifications or temperament to deliver the goods on a game-by-game basis.
Howard has been dazzling since taking over men’s basketball duties in the late 1990s. Even though calling games for Georgia basketball of late has been akin to broadcasting the Nebraska corn crop report, Howard has been well worth listening to when the Dawgs do their part.
Howard brushed aside my question, “Would you have been upset if they had gone another way?” and gave a safe, relative non-quote. Still, I wouldn’t expect non-quotes from Howard when he’s in the booth. He wasn’t safe when he declared: “Take that Gators!” when the Dawgs shocked Florida on the hardwood a few years back.
It’s hard to know how Zeier fits in on the broadcast for two reasons: The former quarterback has yet to deliver a Georgia radio performance in front of a live game day audience, and, due to Munson, the radio crew has always been heavy on play-by-play – not color.
“It will probably feel like more of a traditional broadcast. We are not going to waste Eric’s expertise,” Howard said. “I am excited to get a chance to work with one of the great quarterbacks in Georgia history. It will bring a different feel for the road games, and I am looking forward to that.”
But today’s announcement is much more about Howard and the future of the broadcast than about who his sidekick will be. It came after Munson declared his support for Howard taking the throne – something the 15-year understudy feels was vital to this all happening.
“It’s like having Angelo Dundee in your corner,” Howard joked. “I can’t describe how good it was for me to have him in my corner. Hopefully he’s not lying because my wife has made him cookies.”
Howard said he wants to pay homage to the 41-year vet, probably by using Munson’s catchphrase “Get the picture” before the games. That, he admits, won’t calm his nerves before the Tide and Dawgs tee it up on September 22nd.
“I am sure I will have a good case of the nerves before the Alabama game – hopefully Eric will calm me down. Hopefully people will not compare us because we are not the same. I am not going to try to replace him because he’s a hall of famer.”
What Howard has – it’s different than Munson. But that does not mean that it’s going to be worse. The truth is that Howard hasn’t had his chance yet to have his Hobnail, Sugar-falling-from-the-sky or Run-Lindsey moment.
People need to give Howard a little time. Once they do they will see just how good he is. Maybe then he won’t have to sneak into the stadium anymore.