Munson may just do homes games in 2007

ATHENS – When it's time to replace longtime Georgia football announcer Larry Munson, whenever that time comes, the line of applicants will be long.

Two men expected to be near the front of that line were hesitant Wednesday to speculate on what role they might fill when Munson steps aside.

The 84-year-old Munson, who has called Georgia football games for 40 years, told Dawg Post on Monday that he is considering immediate retirement due to health problems. He told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Wednesday that he is leaning toward calling only Georgia's home games for the 2007 season.

Scott Howard, who has been Munson's broadcast partner since 1993 and is considered the frontrunner to replace Munson as the play-by-play voice of the Bulldogs, has yet to hear of any change in his role, he said Wednesday.

"I have not talked to anybody in the Georgia athletic department or at WSB (radio), so I don't know," he said. "When that opportunity comes about, that's what I would like to do. I've enjoyed and still do enjoy working on the crew and with Larry for all these years, but when he decides he doesn't want to do it anymore or can't do it anymore, that's an opportunity that I would have to look at."

Howard serves as Munson's color analyst but even he acknowledges Munson's broadcast partner doesn't play a large role in the booth.

"With Larry, it's just different," Howard said. "It's not your normal give and take. I wouldn't say it's a one-man show, but it's probably 66 (percent), 33 (percent)."

Howard is the play-by-play voice of the Georgia basketball team and believes his on-air strength is in that role rather than providing color commentary.

"Larry and I have had some conversation about it (Howard replacing him), but I was under the assumption he was going to do this season and still think he will to some degree," Howard said.

If Howard slides over to the play-by-play chair, that would leave a color analyst position open, and former Georgia quarterback Buck Belue would be interested in that spot, or another position in the Bulldogs' booth, he said Wednesday.

"It'd be an honor to talk Georgia football with the Georgia people every Saturday," Belue said, "but I'm not going to run over a Georgia legend to get in the front of the line."

Belue had not spoken with anyone in the Bulldogs athletic department about a job as for Wednesday afternoon and would not feel comfortable pursuing a position until Munson's intentions were official, he said. Belue, who quarterbacked Georgia to the 1980 national championship, hosts an afternoon sports talk show on Atlanta's 680-AM.

He has a degree in speech communications from the University of Georgia and has called play-by-play for Valdosta High School and worked as a color analyst for Valdosta State and Bulldog games.

"I'm not embarrassed by the resume," he said.

Belue has a unique perspective on Munson's tenure. He grew up in Valdosta listening to Munson call Georgia games; he was part of one of Munson's most memorable calls when he threw a 93-yard touchdown pass to Lindsay Scott to beat Florida in 1980, and this week he has fielded calls from the Bulldog faithful bemoaning the eventual loss of Munson.

"It's a hot-button issue," Belue said. "It's been a 40-year love affair, I think that's what you're talking about with Larry and the Georgia people. When you talk about the legends of Georgia football, and I'm talking about the A-list guys, Sinkwich and Trippi and Coach Dooley and Herschel, you've also got the play-by-play guy, you've got Larry Munson. He's right there with all those guys."

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