Former Maryland Terps standout quarterback Scott McBrien has a few new 'babies' he's working on these days.
The first, his first foray into the television business as new Terps football game analyst this season for the Big Ten Network. The second, and most important, McBrien and wife Claire's first child, a daughter, which is due August 10.
For McBrien, who was game MVP of both the Terps Gator Bowl and Peach Bowl victories under Ralph Friedgen during some of the headiest days of Terrapin football, these are indeed heady times.
McBrien, 34, will work as game analyst for both the Terps versus JMU and West Virginia games for BTN, while remaining with the Terrapin Radio Network and calling games with Johnny Holliday and crew for the remainder of the season. In between, he may do studio work both here and in Chicago for BTN.
Additionally, he will be joined by former Terps AA defensive end Shawne Merriman as game day studio host, while on the basketball side of things the BTN also announced this week the addition of both Gary Williams and Drew Nicholas to their basketball television team.
For the first two football games this fall, McBrien will work alongside veteran play-by-play man Joe Beninati. McBrien has been popular for years in Terps broadcast circles for his strong game knowledge, as well as tell-it-like-it-is style.
It's McBrien's first work in television after working a total of six years, on and off, with the Terrapin Radio Network as pre and post-game analyst. And like in his days as a cerebral pass-run threat under center for the Terps, McBrien was ready for the call.
"It was like when Coach Friedgen would sometimes give me a new play the night before a game," McBrien quipped of his interview process with BTN last month.
How it went down was McBrien got a call in early-summer inquiring if he'd be interested if an opening came up at BTN on the Maryland broadcast team. He said sure, and a few weeks later he got a call about coming to Chicago to interview.
But the night before that trip, he got another call, this time informing him he'd be calling a game the following day, a previous game between Michigan and Northwestern. At first he thought it was just going to be an interview. Next thing, he was pouring over rosters of Wolverines and Wildcats well into the night.
"So I took the next 12 hours to prepare for this thing, I didn't know what to really expect," McBrien said. "So I got up there and sure enough they put me in a booth with a play by play guy, and we sit there in a little studio and we're watching the game on TV. They've got cameras on me, I got a headset on, I called a Michigan-Northwestern game. It went smooth, but obviously with my background it's kinda what we do, what Tim Strachan does, so it wasn't anything different other than really not being totally familiar with the two programs that were playing. But I kinda went with the flow, and once you get into the game you pretty much are talking about the plays and talking about your knowledge of the game anyway. So it somewhat came natural to me."
Afterwards, unannounced, they put McBrien on camera and interviewed him about the Terps, last season, the prospects of the season coming up, all of which he already had good working knowledge of.
"So a couple days later they called me and said we'd like to have you as one of our color guys. So it worked out well," McBrien said, who also had to deal with a flight delay to Chicago that hectic morning.
McBrien said that if the first two games go well, it could lead to more work and games down the line. He will be here in Byrd Stadium, Merriman will be on-set in Chicago offering analysis when they go to breaks, halftime, etc. McBrien may also do some weekday college preview shows and the like for BTN. Those could happen in Chicago, or at new studios on campus at Maryland.
Meanwhile, McBrien still works full-time in the area in telecommunications, for Converged Network Services Group.
McBrien and Merriman's careers at UMD overlapped for two years, and he's excited to reunite with "Lights Out," one of the more celebrated Terps defenders of all-time. On the move from radio to TV, he says it's not that big a change.
"It's kinda similar to what I do now," McBrien said. "But obviously, just now going on camera pre-game for a couple seconds, same with halftime for a segment, and then after the game you go back on camera to wrap up and do your quick post-game show. But other than that, the actual game time air is pretty much the same. You are really talking about the game of football and the game you have been around your whole life. It really comes natural to former players, and that's why they like to have former players in the booth because they can kinda tell it from their perspective and their experience."
On the BTN, well McBrien was blown away by their offices and resources.
"I was very impressed. They were very well put together," McBrien said. "A big-time building, a lot of space, a lot of great people there behind the scenes....from the control room to the sales room to the marketing department to the guys all on set that are working every day. The higher-ups, the management. it was really a first-class act and they welcomed me with open arms."
For now, McBrien is beginning some season prep, looking at JMU and WVU info and rosters, as well as studying and visiting the Terps, and preparing for camp starting Aug. 4.
He said he gets asked often about the Terps first season in the Big Ten, which begins Aug. 30 in his first game, Terps-JMU.
"I haven't looked forward to a Maryland football season like this since I was playing, going into my senior year," McBrien said. "Just because of the talent that they have returning. You've got a sixth-year quarterback, you got stud receivers, you got just a ton of guys...what 9 of 11 coming back on offense, and 9 of 11 coming back on defense. So it's definitely a team that is up and hungry to win, that's for sure. I was with the team the other day, was out there with Stefon [Diggs] and Deon [Long], and they can't wait to get on the practice field. And when you see guys like that really getting excited to get on the field and get this thing started, well that gets you excited. I am looking forward to it for sure."
As for the new league, McBrien says the game remains the same, only the atmosphere and venues will be a new experience.
"That's why you do Friday walk-thrus in the stadium and you get out there early for warm-ups. You get all of that out of your head early," McBrien said. "I think they [Maryland] are going to make a little bit more noise than people think they are."
In the meantime, the McBriens don't have a name yet for their new baby daughter. August 10 is the due date "but it could be any day," McBrien said. "So I am on-call."
And as for that name he said:
"I think it will be a game-time decision," he quipped. "It's kinda like we can't pin it down until we meet her first."
Scott McBrien Gets The Call, Again
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