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OPINION | WALLY HALL: Herbstreit a catch for Little Rock Touchdown Club

by Wally Hall | August 21, 2022 at 3:47 a.m.

If college football is Saturday's religion, then Kirk Herbstreit is Billy Graham.

Herbstreit, the best football analyst in the world and a legend in the making, is Monday's speaker for the Little Rock Touchdown Club at the DoubleTree Hotel.

There will be hundreds there and by the end of the week, thousands who claimed they attended.

How LRTDC founder David Bazzel got Herbstreit less than two weeks from the kickoff of a new season is anyone's guess, but whatever it cost was worth it.

The former Ohio State quarterback has been with ESPN since 1996 and has worked his way up to College GameDay on Saturday mornings and ABC's game of the week on Saturday evenings.

Every word that comes out of his mouth is passionate without being sappy, honest without being arrogant and knowledgeable without being condescending.

It would be impossible for Herbstreit, who will also do NFL football on Thursday nights this season, to not have an ego, but he must check most of it when the cameras start rolling.

He is prepared for every week and every appearance. He must spend dozens of hours each week studying for his next assignment.

If it seems your crusty trusty scribe is gushing, consider that in this crazy world of perspiring arts, Herbstreit is refreshingly honest and doesn't try to be bigger than the game, the players or the coaches.

He has written a book, "Out of the Pocket," which is exactly what one would expect, a transparent look at his own life.

He got one of the most gifted writers in America, Gene Wojciechowski, to help him and it should be required reading for all football fans. No, make that all sports fans.

To look at the 53-year-old poised and prepared Herbstreit, one would never suspect some of the secrets he shared in the book.

How he was so shy as a kid, he took the last seat in the room to keep from attracting attention.

The pain of his parents' divorce and the issues that arose with stepdads and stepmoms.

He talks candidly about his struggles as a player that peaked as a senior captain at Ohio State, like his dad Jim had been.

When Herbstreit graduated in 1993 with a business degree, he was offered a big-time sales job. He declined the offer to step into the world of broadcasting, where thousands come up short.

Like cream he rose to the top, but it was not an easy path but one that was charted with serious study, respect and intelligence.

Because of his powerful position, he caught some negative feedback after last season when he questioned the love of the game by some of the players who opted out of bowl games.

Despite the fact he voiced what millions of others -- especially those who only dreamed of playing on that level -- thought, he was criticized.

That goes with the territory of being the top gun in your industry.

Herbstreit is not a maverick, he's just himself. A good husband, father and co-worker, who incidentally calls his fellow GameDay host Lee Corso his second dad.

ESPN counts on Herbstreit like the New England Patriots did Tom Brady.

No assignment is too big or too small, and the most powerful entity in college sports knows their quarterback will be prepared for any and all situations.

Buy his book and read it, there's much more to the man than being the best football analyst in the country.

On Monday, hundreds will have the opportunity to hear him in person and as the days follow there will be thousands who will say they were there, or at least wish they had been.

Doors open at 11 a.m.

Print Headline: Herbstreit a catch for LR Touchdown Club


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