CBS and Verne get ready for some SEC football

CBS and Verne get ready for some SEC football
Longtime pressbox partners Verne Lundquist, left, and Gary Danielson have one more season doing play-by-play on SEC football games for CBS Sports before Lundquist retires. (CBS)

Verne Lundquist will be four days shy of 53 years in broadcasting on Sept. 3 when CBS televises the UCLA at Texas A&M game.

“Verne is a legend in this business,” said his partner Gary Danielson. “I am thankful to have had the opportunity to sit next to him calling SEC games.”

Gary Danielson, left, and Verne Lundquist are familiar faces to SEC football fans, having spent years providing play-by-play for the conference’s games on CBS. (CBS)

CBS has had the highest ratings for college football for the past 10 years, and Lundquist plans to make his last year all about the game.

“Verne has never wanted to be the story of any broadcast,” said CBS Sports Chairman Sean McManus. “He has always wanted the game, the players and the coaches to be the story.”

Lundquist, Danielson, McManus and studio host Rick Neuheisel were on a conference call with the media Thursday as CBS approaches its 16th year of covering the SEC.

Lundquist remembered the year 2000, when coach Mike Dubose’s Alabama team finished 3-8.

“We’re light years removed from that Alabama team,” Lundquist said.

“When they got Nick Saban, the world changed.”

McManus let the media in on a change coming to CBS broadcasts this season. He said viewers should be prepared for graphics having a “slick new modern look.”

And Garth Brooks “is going to customize a song for us,” McManus added.

Danielson was asked about Lundquist, and he answered with high praise.

“I think he has been as important to the SEC as Bear Bryant,” Danielson said.

“Verne always finds the goodness in the game with the players and coaches he interviews.”

Gary Danielson and Verne Lundquist will spend one more season in the booth together calling SEC games for CBS. Lundquist is retiring at the end of the season. (CBS)
Gary Danielson and Verne Lundquist provide play-by-play commentary for an Auburn-Georgia game. At the end of this season, Lundquist will turn his job over to Brad Nessler after 53 years in the business. (CBS)

Other takeaways from the conference call:

  • Lundquist on preparing for a game: “You can’t shortcut it. If you do, you’ll be found out.”
  • Danielson: “I’ve had what I consider four, five, six dear friends in my life. People come up in the booth and hug Verne and call him their dear friend – hundreds of them.”
  • Verne on his successor, Brad Nessler: “I’ve known Brad for more than 30 years and have always admired his work ethic and his on-air presence. He shares the same passion for college football that I do.”
  • Neuheisel’s four picks for the College Football Playoff: Alabama, Ohio State, Oklahoma and Clemson.

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