Verne Lundquist and Gary Danielson have spent the past decade as broadcast partners at CBS – as the cornerstone of the network’s college football coverage – and as part of the SEC on CBS, the duo has seen some of the biggest games in the conference’s history.
The Sentinel caught up with both as they get set to broadcast this week’s Florida-Georgia game Saturday at 3:30 ET on CBS.
Q: How would you describe the past 10 years in broadcasting together?
Lundquist: “Since I’ve started network television in 1974 – I haven’t kept a list, but I have a pretty good idea that – I’ve had more than 40 partners. I’m his longest running partner and he’s mine. It’s been 10 years and we’ve established a friendship and an understanding of each other. I don’t want to irritate any of my previous partners, but I think Gary is the best that I’ve ever worked with.”
Q: What makes your partnership work?
Lundquist: “It wasn’t easy the first year. It never is for anybody. There is a feeling out process. I had worked with Todd Blackledge for the previous six. We had a sudden opening and Gary was available. … I was thrilled because I always respected his degree of preparation, the insight that he brought to a telecast – I’ve learned in the subsequent decade that he never ever makes a comment that is flippant. If he takes a stance, you can rest assured that he has thought about it, he’s researched it, and he believes it. He’s a very principled broadcaster. … It’s that kind of thing that he brings to the broadcast that I really admire.”
“On a personal level, we’ve adjusted every year. I think we’ve grown closer as the years have gone by. I think that has to do with respect. I trust Gary implicitly. I know when we show up in Jacksonville, he will be as well-prepared as he can be. He goes about it completely different than I do because he’s got a responsibility. I’m more the nuts-and-bolts guy – the storyteller – so I’m looking for anecdotes and human interest things and Gary is studying tape and trying to break down who can bring what to the encounter. So we have different roles.”
“I think over the years we’ve learned to A) trust each other – he trusts me to get my side of it done so I come in there prepared and then I think the personalities are so completely different. But that’s turned into strength. That was not true in 2006. We had our moments where we talked over each other and we had our moments where he would look at me and raise his eyes and think ‘Where are you going with this?’ And I would have my moments where I would look at him – it was never expressed – but I would think ‘Why did you just say that.’ But over time – and it began to happen in the second year. He’s so well-prepared and he such concrete opinions. He’s uncanny at his ability to anticipate. I think that’s one of his greatest strengths.”
“We’re not chit-chatting all the time and we don’t normally talk during the week. We go about it completely separately and completely differently. I’ve learned to know when he’s got something on his mind and that he wants to express it. And so I give him the space and I hope he feels that way. And he knows if it’s an anecdote about something, I’ll raise my finger in the air to let him know I have something that I think can add value. … We try to make it as much of a conversation as we can.”
Danielson: “I think first of all what made it work was that we weren’t young newlyweds. We had both gone through a few marriages and we both respected each other’s work when we came to this marriage. We knew that really there is no such thing as a utopia as a partner – everybody has their flaws. Everybody needs their space. … I think we both know that there is time to get away from each other. There is time to give each other space, but we both know that we’re better together than we are separate.
“I marvel at the way that Verne can get along with everybody from the university prior to the game. He takes a deep interest in the smallest things of people. I might not do that outwardly as much as him, but I appreciate it. I think he takes a look at me and has respect for the fact that I can shut out the outside world – almost like a player – and get down to the basics. I think we both respect that about each other.”
“It’s better for us to bring a different perspective each week and if we work too closely together we sort of get the same perspective. … I think the biggest part is that we both understand that we don’t have to be the same to like each other and we don’t have to exactly the same perspective to do a good job for the game. We can come at it from different ends and blend in the middle.”
To read the rest of the article visit the Orlando Sentinel where it was originally published