The news from ISP Sports that UGA’s interim broadcast team of play-by-play announcer Scott Howard and analyst Eric Zeier have gotten the broadcast booth jobs on a permanent basis was no surprise. The duo are already established in those roles, Howard has been a longtime presence in the booth on Georgia broadcasts, and Zeier was a big-name player for the Dogs.
They were the safe choice for ISP and UGA. Introducing a stranger in the booth, particularly in the play-by-play role, as the broadcast transitions from the Larry Munson era would not have been a popular move in the Bulldog Nation and would have put the newcomer in a very tough position.
Plus Howard and Zeier have, for the most part, done a good job since first having to step into the breach. The familiarity of Howard’s voice has been comforting for fans missing Munson, and Howard has provided more pertinent information about who’s doing what on the field than Munson did in his later years.
As for Zeier, not my first choice as a color analyst, he knows football, particularly what a quarterback is facing, and has gotten better at translating that knowledge into terms the listening audience can understand. But let’s face it, as a radio personality, he’s kinda dull. He could use a dash of Kevin Butler-style personality.
Howard, of course, isn’t ever going to be another Larry Munson, and as a play-by-play man he’s still a work in progress. He hasn’t yet managed to find a style that he seems completely comfortable with. He’ll probably never come up with the kind of instantly memorable, off-the-wall descriptions that Munson fans loved so much, and he shouldn’t try.
But at times over the past couple of seasons, Howard has let the excitement of what’s happening on the field turn him into more of a fan than a broadcaster. Screaming uncontrollably like a guy in the stands when Georgia scores a big touchdown, as Howard did during last year’s Kentucky game, isn’t the stuff of which “greatest calls” compilations are made. Even when Munson lapsed into a “yeah, yeah, yeah” rather than telling you that the kick was good, he was imparting information with style.
That’s something Howard and Zeier still aspire to.